Those suffering from high blood pressure require blood pressure equipment and medications. There are a variety of drugs that patients can take in order to keep their levels at an appropriate place. Recent information has found that some of those prescriptions may also benefit individuals who are dealing with the onset of dementia.
At the University College Cork, doctors conducted a control study to see whether ACE inhibitors were successful in reducing a patient's rate of cognitive decline over the course of six months. Participants included 817 patients who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Through the use of the Standardized Mini-Mental State Examination or Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment, the patients' levels of dementia were tracked.
Researchers found a significant difference between the patients' cognitive skills when they compared those who received ACE inhibitors and those who did not. Specifically, their memory loss occurred at a rate that was 20 to 30 percent slower than the individuals who were not on ACE inhibitors. As a result, it was concluded that the progress of dementia could be reduced through this form of treatment.
These pharmaceuticals are often used to treat congestive heart failure, which is why they are present in a number of blood pressure medications. Based on molecular structure, there are three different groups of ACE inhibitors, including sulfhydryl-containing, dicarboxylate-containing and phosphonate-containing agents. The first ACE inhibitor was captopril, which was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1981. These have been used as ingredients in treatment options for cardiac failure, renal disease and systemic sclerosis as well.
Currently, Alzheimer's is both an incurable and fatal disease that affects the brain. Due to the number of Americans who are living longer, it has become a more common diagnosis among the elderly. As a result, many doctors have worked to uncover treatment options to slow the process. This study conducted by doctors in Ireland was not the first of its kind. Although the evidence research has shown is positive, there will need to be studies conducted on larger levels. For instance, professionals may want to conduct a double-blind study that tracks results for a period that is greater than six months.
According to NBC News, professionals in the health care industry believe than the number of people living with Alzheimer's will triple over the course of the next 40 years. When the math is done, this could mean that 13.8 million people will be diagnosed with the terminal illness by 2050. Again, this is in part due to the current long life spans of Americans, and as the baby boomers enter their senior years the country could see the amount of people who are ages 65 to 84 double by that time.
Basic symptoms of Alzheimer's include mild memory loss and difficulty thinking, both of which are generally associated with old age. However, once the brain experiences a certain level of damage because of the disease, patients are likely to get lost and have difficulty with simple tasks like feeding themselves. As a result, doctors are working vigorously to find a treatment that truly works.
"The drugs we have for Alzheimer's dementia are basically symptomatic drugs," Dr, Gary Small told NBC. "They work temporarily. So far as we know there is no specific drug to prevent disease. We know probably that lifestyle choices have an effect."
Although individuals who stimulate their brains on a regular basis through the use of reading materials, thought-provoking puzzles and regular interaction socially may be able to reduce their risk for develop Alzheimer's disease, there are unfortunately no guarantees.