If you’re trying to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and take prescription or over-the-counter medications regularly, a new study offers important insights into links between these conditions and some of the frequently used drugs. The study focused on common medications used for allergies, sleep, depression, heart, gut, bladder, and back pain, reported People’s Pharmacy.
Researchers discovered that many drugs in the anticholinergic category boost dementia risk by as much as 50 percent. But be sure to check with your doctor before stopping or changing your dosage of any prescription drug, asking for an alternative rather than ceasing medications on your own, emphasize the experts.
The drugs studied were:
Chlorpheniramine (Actifed, Allergy & Congestion Relief, Chlor-Trimeton, Codeprex, Efidac-24 Chlorpheniramine, etc.)
Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid, Flexeril)
Diphenhydramine (Advil PM, Aleve PM, Bayer PM, Benadryl, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Simply Sleep, Sominex, Tylenol PM, Unisom, etc.)
Doxepin (Adapin, Silenor, Sinequan)
Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril)
Hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Levbid, Levsin, Levsinex, NuLev)
Meclizine (Antivert, Bonine)
Oxybutynin (Ditropan, Oxytrol)
Paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil)
Pseudoephedrine HCl/Triprolidine HCl (Aprodine)
Scopolamine (Transderm Scop)
However, other drugs fall into the category of medications that might have anticholinergic activity. Other possible culprits include the ones below, which although not included in the study, might potentially boost the risk of dementia.
Digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin)
Hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix, Dyazide, HydroDIURIL, Maxzide, etc.)
Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)
Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)
“No one should ever stop such a medication without consulting with the prescriber. If you are taking one or more of these drugs, however, be sure to discuss with your physician whether there may be alternative treatments that do not put you at increased risk for dementia.”
The researchers who conducted the dementia study were led by Shelley Gray, a pharmacist at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, reported Harvard Health.
The study found that the longer that people took the drugs, the higher their risk of dementia.
“This study is another reminder to periodically evaluate all of the drugs you’re taking. Look at each one to determine if it’s really helping,” advised Dr. Sarah Berry, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
As to what you can do to protect yourself, a surprising new Alzheimer’s disease study revealed that obesity actually might help, reported CBS News.
People who are obese or overweight when they are middle-aged are 30 percent less apt to develop dementia in 15 years. In contrast, underweight people are 34 percent more likely to become afflicted with dementia.
Even the researchers were surprised by the results of their study.
“Our findings were unexpected, that obese and overweight people would be protected,” admitted lead researcher Dr. Nawab Qizilbash.
But that doesn’t mean you should start indulging in nightly hot fudge sundaes and French fries, added Qizilbash. The research also revealed that being obese or overweight boosts the risk of early death.
So what can you do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
Meet Dr. David Perlmutter, FACN board-certified neurologist, who cites research and case studies showing that consuming popular carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, and pasta pave the path to conditions ranging from obesity to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as the Inquisitr reported.
More specifically, Dr. Perlmutter recommends eating a high fat, low carb diet that eliminates sugar and grains to both win at weight loss, and protect yourself from diseases such as dementia.
“Your key to weight loss is to eat more fat. Eat fat, get thin!” summed up Dr. Perlmutter.
To put his prescription into action, the physician recommends limiting carbohydrates to 60 to 80 grams per day. He refers to the Paleo diet view that our bodies are not meant to eat large amounts of grains.
“For more than 99 percent of our time on this planet, we were on a high fat, low carb, virtually gluten-free diet,” pointed out Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers.
The high fat low carb diet prevents blood sugar spikes, he clarified. Studies have shown that these spikes increase your risk of dementia and type 2 diabetes. In addition, researchers determined that the risk of dementia is 42 percent lower for dieters who eat a high fat low carb diet.
[Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images]