Common drugs for high blood pressure and allergy linked to memory issues

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Imagine you’re taking medicine to help with everyday health problems, like allergies, high blood pressure, or even a cold. You would expect these medicines to make you feel better, right?

However, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, have found something surprising. Some of these medicines might actually make it harder for people to remember things.

The medicines in question are part of a group called anticholinergic drugs. They’re used for a bunch of different health issues. Some people take them for high blood pressure, others for allergies or colds, and they’re even used to help with Parkinson’s disease and bladder problems.

There are about 100 different kinds of these drugs. Some you can buy in a store without a doctor’s note, but others you need a prescription for.

The research involved 688 people, all around 74 years old, who were perfectly fine in terms of their memory and thinking skills at the start. To be part of the study, these folks had to be taking these anticholinergic medicines regularly—meaning at least once a week for more than six months.

Over up to ten years, these people had check-ups every year to see how their memory and thinking skills were doing.

About one-third of them were taking these special medicines, averaging about five different kinds per person. Some of the common ones included Metoprolol, Atenolol, Loratadine, and Bupropion.

Here’s where it gets worrying. The study found that people taking at least one of these drugs had a 47% higher chance of starting to have memory problems compared to those not taking them. Memory issues can be the first hint of more serious problems later on, like Alzheimer’s disease.

And there’s more. People who already had early signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their bodies and were taking these medicines were even more likely to have memory troubles. They were four times as likely, to be exact.

And if someone was more likely to get Alzheimer’s because of their genes, taking these drugs made it 2.5 times more likely they’d have memory problems.

So, what does this mean for all of us? Well, it might be a good idea to be careful about using these medicines, especially if you want to keep your memory sharp as you get older. This is especially true for people who are more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re dealing with high blood pressure, keep an eye on other studies too. Changes in blood pressure can be a clue that your heart health needs attention. Eating certain foods, like beetroot, might help keep your blood pressure in check.

Plus, there’s always new research coming out about the best ways to manage high blood pressure. Sometimes, waiting and seeing how things go, rather than jumping straight to medication, can be the best approach.

This study, led by Lisa Delano-Wood and her team, is a reminder that sometimes the medicines we take to solve one problem might cause another.

It was published in the journal Neurology, adding an important piece of information for anyone interested in keeping their brain healthy.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

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