Researchers have published the results of a large-scale study that suggests people with high blood pressure could be at a lower risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.
High blood pressure is still not terribly good for your heart, but recent research suggests that there could be a connection between a hereditary tendency for hypertension and a lowered risk for Alzheimer’s disease. According to a report from the Economic Times, however, the link may have something to do with the medication used to keep high blood pressure at a safe level.
A study published in the journal Plos Medicine examined genetic information from 17,008 patients with Alzheimer’s, and 37,154 people without the disease. Scientists scanned for links between Alzheimer’s disease and a long list of different health problems including diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol, so they could gain insight into just what could be influencing the onset of the disease.
Despite the broad scope of the study, the researchers only found a significant link between high systolic blood pressure and fewer instances of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Paul Crane of the University of Washington, the findings run counter to what most people might believe when they consider the link between Alzheimer’s disease and blood pressure.
“It may be that high blood pressure is protective or it may be that something that people with high blood pressure are exposed to more often, such as antihypertensive medication, is protecting them from Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Crane explained.
This is one of the first studies to search for a link between Alzheimer’s disease and potentially modifiable factors. The team will need to conduct further studies to affirm or disprove the findings, but the researchers believe they may have found an important clue in the fight against a horrible degenerative disease.