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Older adults with RX medications increase the likelihood of dementia: study



A recent study found that older adults who have been prescribed antidepressants, bladder antimalarcinamics, antipsychotics, and antiepileptic drugs are at a higher risk of developing dementia.

published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal on Monday, confirms earlier research linking prescription drugs and dementia.

According to this new research, an adult who took an anticholinergic drug daily for at least three years had a 50% higher chance of being diagnosed with dementia.

"The study is important because it reinforces a growing body of evidence that strong anticholinergics have a long-term relationship with dementia risk," said Carol Coupland, a professor of primary care medical statistics at the University of Nottingham Study, said.

"It also highlights which types of anticholinergic drugs have the strongest associations. This is important information for doctors to consider if they should prescribe these medicines. This is an observational study so that no clear conclusions can be drawn as to whether these anticholinergics induce dementia.

RELATED: 10 treatable causes of dementia

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10 treatable causes of dementia

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The wrong medication

If you do not get enough sleep, This can lead to memory problems -the-counter sleep aids can cause symptoms that mimic dementia. "There are some medications that can cause confusion and make dementia worse," says Mollie Scott, PharmD, Regional Associate Dean at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina. Common drugs that do this are medications with anticholinergic properties – many prescription and over-the-counter medicines have these properties, including those that treat incontinence and COPD, as well as some antihistamines, hypnotics and antidepressants, Scott says. A common culprit is diphenhydramine, which is found in Benadryl and over-the-counter sleep medications such as ZzzQuil and Unisom. "Older adults use them frequently, without noticing that they can negatively affect memory, constipation, and urinary retention," says Scott. "I recently saw a woman in her 70s who was very worried about her memory, but it turned out that she could not sleep and took 50 mg of diphenhydramine at bedtime, and when she discontinued the medication, her symptoms improved. " Learn how much sleep can increase your risk of dementia.

Urinary Tract Infections

The typical symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI) – fever, pain and urgency – are often overlooked Older and untreated people can produce symptoms that mimic dementia, such as delirium, confusion, agitation and hallucinations. "In nursing homes and hospitals, urinary tract infections are widespread and it is believed that many patients suddenly experience dementia," says James. "If you're given an antibiotic, the symptoms will disappear, but if you're not a nurse or a medical professional, you do not necessarily know it, and if you're not treated, you may have an infection." Fever and the other side effects that people have in the fight against infections such as Lyme borreliosis, meningitis and encephalitis in the body can also cause dementia-like symptoms.

Hearing loss

A number of recent studies have shown an association between hearing loss and dementia, and some experts believe that interventions such as professional hearing aids may delay or prevent dementia. One study found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, and that hearing-impaired seniors develop dementia over time more than those who retain their hearing, while another study found a link between hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss. "They" hear "with their brains, not with their ears," says Carole Rogin, president of the Hearing Industries Association (HIA). Unaddressed hearing loss not only affects the ability of the listener to accurately perceive the sound, but also the higher-level cognitive functions, Rogin explains. In particular, it interferes with the ability of the listener to accurately process and understand the hearing information. "The latest research shows that even mild hearing loss can lead to a cognitive brain drain that jeopardizes the memory of what you've heard," says Rogin. Here are some more habits that reduce the risk of dementia.

Water in the brain

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), which increases the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which causes ventricles in the brain, can lead to walking difficulties, urinary problems, and memory loss. According to the Hydrocephalus Association, more than 700,000 Americans suffer from NPH, but less than 20 percent receive adequate diagnosis, leading to a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. "When referred to as water on the brain, the condition is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid that causes pressure, and this pressure is applied to the brain tissue and causes problems," says James. "If left untreated, it can lead to long-term dementia, but if doctors use a shunt system and can remove the fluid, the person's symptoms may improve."

Depression

People with depression sometimes suffer from a so-called pseudodementia type of cognitive impairment, which mimics dementia but is actually caused by mental illness (such as depression) and not by central nervous system disorders. "The brain is the last explored frontier, and the medical community is not aware of the link between dementia and depression," says James. It is well known that studies show that the condition that typically occurs in older adults can be reversed if depression is treated. "Depression can affect the brain's capacity to cause cognitive cloudiness and confusion, as well as difficulty in decision-making," Dr. Dylan Wint, Director of Education in Neurodegenerative Disorders, and a fellow of the Lou Ruvo Center, Cleveland Clinic for Brain Health. "There is also evidence that important memory structures in the brain may shrink during depressive episodes, it is unclear what causes this shrinkage, but the structures appear to recover as the episode of depression subsides."

Trauma

Stroke, head injury, concussion, anything that physically happens to the brain is a risk factor for dementia, as it affects the physical structure of brain tissue, "says James, head injuries from sports or auto accidents in younger adults and Falls, especially in the elderly, can lead to subdural hematomas (bleeding between the brain surface and the coverage of the brain) and dementia-like symptoms such as memory loss and confusion.While some traumas can lead to permanent brain damage, research shows that these symptoms Learn about the everyday habits of people with exceptional memory.

Nutritional deficiencies

Most of us receive adequate levels of vitamin B-12 from the foods we eat – dairy, eggs , Meat and fish – but some people have a vitamin B-12 deficiency caused by a rare condition called pernicious anemia, which, if left untreated, can cause symptoms that mimic dementia. People with this condition are unable to take vitamin B-12 from food and the deficiency can cause confusion, irritability and apathy. Fortunately, regular B-12 injections can cure the deficiency and relieve symptoms. Other deficiencies that can cause symptoms of dementia include dehydration, low intake of B-1 or B-6 vitamins, or too little or too much sodium or calcium. Research has also shown a link between inadequate levels of vitamin D and dementia. "In the United States, these deficiencies are most commonly due to a diet that is deficient in variation and / or quality, such as the constant consumption of junk food," says Wint. "This may be due to a lack of knowledge, mental disorders, substance use or other circumstances." These are the symptoms of a vitamin B 12 deficiency that you need to know about.

Heart and lung problems

Poor cardiovascular health such as arteriosclerosis (often referred to as "hardening of the arteries") or anything that affects blood circulation Excessive blood flow to the brain (mini strokes) can increase the risk of memory impairment and dementia increase, says James. "If you have good cardiovascular health, the likelihood of having good cognitive health is higher." A healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet has been shown to slow cognitive decline and reduce Alzheimer's risk. In addition, another study shows that impaired lung function and chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which may limit brain oxygen levels, may increase the risk of memory loss and dementia. However, early intervention and treatment of COPD may help to delay or even prevent the onset of dementia. That's why the Mediterranean Diet is so good for brain aging.

Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 29.1 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes. Diabetes leads to an increase in the body's blood sugar level (blood sugar levels) above normal (also known as hyperglycemia). If this value becomes too high or too low (hypoglycaemia), studies have shown that people with this condition can experience memory loss and other forms of dementia -like symptoms. In many cases, adjusting the level of sugar may reverse the problem, but diabetes can increase the risk of developing long-term memory problems and has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. "Alzheimer's disease is often referred to as Type III diabetes," says James. This is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's.

Alcohol Abuse

While alcohol abuse destroys brain cells in areas critical to memory, decision-making and balance, people who abuse alcohol can develop dementia-like symptoms because they suffer from a vitamin deficiency. (Do you drink too much? Here's how to get the safest amount of alcohol.) With thiamine (B-1), brain cells can produce energy, but if the level is too low, brain cells can not generate enough energy to To work properly result is called Korsakoff syndrome. "Thiamine is depleted in people who abuse alcohol, and thiamine deficiency leads to memory loss, confusion and other cognitive challenges." While giving up drinking does not automatically correct the situation, James says, in some cases the effects can be reversed or completely avoided if one maintains a healthy lifestyle. "It is estimated that up to one-third of the risk of dementia can be avoided by regular exercise, maintaining an active mental life, preventing diabetes, avoiding smoking, eliminating high blood pressure, treating depression, and minimizing or moderately consuming alcohol (1- 2 Drinks per day), "says Wint. These are the daily habits that increase the risk of dementia.




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The researchers found no similar association between other common prescriptions such as antihistamines, muscle relaxants and various gastrointestinal medicines.

Researchers did not find an explicit causal link between drug use and disease, but said further research on prescription reduction could link these issues.

In the meantime Dr. Douglas Scharre, director of the Department of Cognitive Neurology at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, who was not involved in the study, said patients should talk with their doctors about switching to a new drug.

"Often there is another drug that has fewer anticholinergic effects or are non-anticholinergic that may be effective," Scharre said.


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