New research published in the journal JAMA Network Open suggests that older adults who take medications to lower their blood pressure may reduce their risk of dementia. The study, which pooled findings from 17 separate observational studies that included a total of more than 34,000 adults ages 60 to 110, found that people with untreated high blood pressure were 42% more likely to develop dementia compared with healthy older adults. Those who were untreated had a 26% greater risk than people with treated high blood pressure. However, when researchers compared people with treated high blood pressure to healthy older adults without high blood pressure, they found no meaningful difference in dementia risk between the two groups.
The findings reinforce the connection between heart and brain health and suggest that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both organs. It’s important for older adults to speak with their healthcare provider about the risks associated with high blood pressure and how it may impact their overall health.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.