Medicines can be lifesavers, but sometimes they have unexpected side effects.
A recent study at the University of California, San Diego, highlights this with a surprising discovery about common drugs and their effect on memory.
The study looked at anticholinergic drugs, which are used for many health issues. They’re used to lower high blood pressure, treat allergies and colds, manage Parkinson’s disease, and help with bladder problems.
There are about 100 types of these drugs, some you can buy over the counter and others you need a prescription for.
The study had 688 participants, average age 74, who didn’t have memory or thinking problems at the start. They reported using anticholinergic drugs at least once a week for more than six months.
Over up to 10 years, they took annual tests for memory and thinking skills. About one-third were taking these drugs, including common ones like Metoprolol, Atenolol, Loratadine, and Bupropion.
The results were concerning. People taking at least one of these drugs were 47% more likely to have memory problems than those who weren’t. Memory issues are often early signs of serious memory diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The study also found that people with Alzheimer’s signs in their body or genes faced a higher risk. They were four times and 2.5 times more likely, respectively, to develop memory problems if they were taking these drugs.
What does this mean for everyone? It suggests that cutting back on these drugs, especially before having memory problems, could prevent future issues. This is especially important for those at higher risk of Alzheimer’s.
Other things to consider: For high blood pressure, it’s important to keep up with research.
Changes in blood pressure could mean heart problems are starting. Natural remedies like beetroot might help manage high blood pressure.
Sometimes, high blood pressure medications can make the condition worse, and a wait-and-see approach might be better.
This important research by Lisa Delano-Wood and her team, published in Neurology, shows we need to be careful about the medications we use.
Their long-term effects on our health, especially our memory and thinking, are crucial to consider.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.
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