HealthDay News is reporting a stunning study from the Boston University School of Medicine finding that the use of a particular class of blood pressure drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) is associated with lower incidence and slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Wow. This is amazing news – an analysis of U.S. government data revealed that patients taking ARBs were 35 percent to 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia than people who didn’t take the drugs.
The study also found that people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who took ARBs were up to 45 percent less likely to develop delirium, to be admitted to nursing homes, or to die.
Patients who suffered strokes before or during being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia seemed to especially benefit from taking ARBs.
The findings are expected to be presented Sunday at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Chicago.
MedPage quotes one of the researchers as saying, “For those who already have dementia, use of ARBs might delay deterioration of brain function and help keep patients out of nursing homes.
One researcher said, “The study is particularly interesting, because we compared the effects of ARBs to other medications used for treating blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. This suggests that ARBs are more effective than other blood pressure and cardiovascular medications for preventing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.”
The researchers are not clear why ARBs may be beneficial, but they hypothesize that it may be because they help prevent nerve cell injury from blood vessel damage or help promote nerve recovery after blood vessel damage.
In the meantime, if you have a first order relative with dementia (mother, father, sister, brother) or have early dementia yourself AND are being treated for hypertension (high blood pressure), you may want to consider asking your physician about an ARB.
They ARE expensive compared to the other options … but not as expensive or as devastating as dementia or Alzheimer’s.