Journal of general internal medicine 2018 01 12() doi 10.1007/s11606-017-4281-x
African Americans are especially at risk of hypertension and dementia. Antihypertensive medications reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, but may also reduce the risk of dementia.
To assess the longitudinal effects of antihypertensive medications and blood pressure on the onset of incident dementia in a cohort of African Americans.
1236 community-dwelling patients from an inner-city public health care system, aged 65 years and older, with a history of hypertension but no history of dementia, and who had at least three primary care visits and a prescription filled for any medication.
Blood pressure was the average of three seated measurements. Dementia was diagnosed using a two-stage design, with a screening evaluation every 2 to 3 years followed by a comprehensive in-home clinical evaluation for those with a positive screen. Laboratory, inpatient and outpatient encounter data, coded diagnoses and procedures, and medication records were derived from a health information exchange.
Of the 1236 hypertensive participants without dementia at baseline, 114 (9%) developed incident dementia during follow-up. Individuals prescribed any antihypertensive medication (n = 816) were found to have a significantly reduced risk of dementia (HR = 0.57, 95% CI 0.37-0.88, p = 0.0114) compared to untreated hypertensive participants (n = 420). When this analysis was repeated including a variable indicating suboptimally treated blood pressure (> 140 mmHg systolic or >90 mmHg diastolic), the effect of antihypertensive medication was no longer statistically significant (HR = 0.65, 95% CI 0.32-1.30, p = 0.2217).
Control of blood pressure in older adult African American patients with hypertension is a key intervention for preventing dementia, with similar benefits from most of the commonly available antihypertensive medications.