Common medicine for high blood pressure and allergy may harm memory

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When you take medicine for common health issues like allergies or high blood pressure, you expect to feel better. But a study from the University of California, San Diego, brings to light a concerning side effect: some medicines might impair your memory.

The focus of this research is on a category of drugs known as anticholinergic drugs. These are widely used for various conditions—everything from high blood pressure and allergies to Parkinson’s disease and bladder issues.

There are about 100 different types of anticholinergic drugs, some over-the-counter and others prescription-based.

The study involved 688 participants, all around 74 years old, who initially showed no cognitive decline. These individuals had been taking anticholinergic drugs regularly—defined as at least once a week for more than six months.

Over a period of up to ten years, with annual check-ups, researchers monitored their cognitive abilities. Roughly one-third of the participants were taking these drugs, with an average of five different kinds each. Common drugs among the study group included Metoprolol, Atenolol, Loratadine, and Bupropion.

The findings are quite alarming: those taking at least one anticholinergic drug had a 47% higher risk of developing memory problems than those not on these medications. Memory problems are often the first sign of more severe conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

The risks increase for those already showing early signs of Alzheimer’s. If they were taking anticholinergic drugs, they were four times more likely to develop memory issues.

Furthermore, individuals genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s faced a 2.5 times greater risk of memory problems if they used these medications.

These results suggest a need for caution in using anticholinergic drugs, particularly among those at higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease or keen on maintaining their cognitive health.

Additionally, the study hints at the broader implications of managing conditions like high blood pressure. It underscores the importance of monitoring health changes that could indicate underlying issues.

Natural remedies, such as dietary choices like beetroot, might also help manage blood pressure.

This ongoing research into managing high blood pressure emphasizes a cautious approach—sometimes opting to monitor and adjust lifestyle before starting medication might be beneficial.

Led by Lisa Delano-Wood, this research not only adds to our understanding of drug side effects but also serves as a critical reminder of the delicate balance in treating one health issue without compromising another.

The findings were published in the journal Neurology, contributing valuable insights for those interested in preserving brain health.

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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