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Taking this popular OTC drug may increase the risk of dementia, researchers say

Taking this popular OTC drug may increase the risk of dementia, researchers say

Taking this popular OTC drug may increase the risk of dementia, researchers say

With no known cure for dementia, researchers, scientists and the medical community have long focused on them preventive measures and early diagnosis of this devastating condition. Recognition early symptoms is crucial, because a quick diagnosis allows for the possibility of more effective treatment or cure.

Researchers are also learning more about the types of foods, drinks and drugs that can potentially increase the risk of dementia – sometimes with surprising results. For example, studies show that drinking diet soda and eating highly processed food may increase the risk of cognitive decline. Certain medications can also increase your risk, including one popular over-the-counter (OTC) drug in particular. Read on to find out what it is.

READ THIS NEXT: A new study says this common drug could be harming your brain.

Someone in the world develops dementia approximately every three seconds.

Taking this popular OTC drug may increase the risk of dementia, researchers say

Dementia statistics paint a bleak picture, especially considering the consequences are so devastating. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), over 55 million people suffer from dementia worldwidewith that number predicted to nearly double every two decades to reach 139 million in 2050.

“Dementia” is an umbrella term that refers to the cognitive decline that occurs in many different diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia. “Dementia is caused by damage or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic. “Depending on the area of ​​the brain that is damaged, dementia can affect people differently and cause different symptoms.”

Various factors can increase the risk of dementia.

“Dementia mainly affects older people, although there is increasing awareness of cases starting before the age of 65,” says the ADI. The Mayo Clinic lists some other risk factors that cannot be changed by age, including a family history of the condition.

Many other factors can lead to cognitive decline, including alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, head injuries, stroke, lack of sleep, stress and vitamin deficiency, write experts from AARP. The site also notes that various prescription drugs can have a negative impact on your brain health.

Certain antihistamines can affect your cognitive health.

Antihistamines are one type of medication that can increase the risk of dementia. “Antihistamines are a drug class which are commonly used to treat allergy symptoms,” the Cleveland Clinic explains. “These medications help treat conditions caused by too much histamine, a chemical made by your body’s immune system.”

Antihistamines can be associated with cognitive decline because of the way they affect acetylcholine. “Acetylcholine is a type of chemical messenger or neurotransmitter plays a vital role in the central and peripheral nervous system,” according to Verywell Mind. “It is important for muscle control, autonomic function, and for learning, memory, and attention.”

One antihistamine thought to have an effect on this chemical messenger is the popular OTC drug Benadryl.

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Studies show that Benadryl and some other antihistamines may be associated with cognitive decline.

Benadryl is an anticholinergic drug, which means it blocks the action of acetylcholine. Because “acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter important for cognitive function, it plays a key role in memory and learning,” Alice Williamsdoctor of medicine, physician based in Las Vegasthe story The best life. “So when Benadryl blocks the effects of acetylcholine, it can interfere with memory and learning.”

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that “higher, cumulative use of anticholinergics is associated with increased risk of dementia,” advising that “efforts to increase awareness among health care professionals and older adults of this potential drug-related risk are important to minimize anticholinergic use over time.”

AARP lists alternatives to Benadryl, including Vistaril, Clistin and Dimetane. “Newer-generation antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are better tolerated by older patients and do not pose the same risk to memory and cognition,” they write.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research and health agencies, but our content is not a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to medications you are taking or any other health concerns you may have, always contact your doctor directly.



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