We all know that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease, but some may be surprised to learn that high blood pressure is also believed to increase your risk of dementia.
But now research suggests that treating your blood pressure with beta-blockers may not only control your blood pressure it may reduce your risk of dementia.
Dr. Ronan Factora treats Alzheimer's patients at the Cleveland Clinic, he has seen the study and is encouraged. "Treating high blood pressure is going to reduce your risk of developing dementia. That's key in this study, but the use of beta blockers in your blood pressure regimen can infer some additional benefit," said Dr. Factora.
The research was done in Honolulu and found that Japanese-American men who used beta blockers as their sole medication to fight blood pressure had less brain abnormalities than people who were either not treated or who used other blood pressure medications.
"There might be something that the beta blockers do that may also help to reduce the risk of dementia that is separate from the blood pressure effects. But that requires some additional study," said Dr Factora.
Researchers believe, and Dr. Factora agrees, that this discovery may lead to a way to slow or prevent Alzheimer's disease. Still Dr. Factora says more study is needed.
"One thing to keep in mind is that this study was done on Japanese-Americans and we really would need a larger study including the whole population to see if these benefits are unique to this class of medications."