It’s no secret that pretty much every medication that your doctor will write down on their handy little prescription pad is likely to carry a long list of side effects.
And while most medications carry mild side effects, others can be even worse than the problem they’re prescribed to treat — including allergic reactions, internal bleeding and serious infections.
Now, another class of medications is being added to that second dangerous group and the target they’ve put on your health is your brain…
50 percent increased risk of dementia
The medications we’re talking about are known as anticholinergic drugs. These drugs help to contract and relax your muscles and work by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages in your nervous system.
Doctors prescribe the drugs to treat a laundry list of conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bladder conditions, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
And, while doctors have known for a long time that these medicines can have short-term side effects, including confusion and memory loss, researchers were less certain whether long-term use could cause dementia.
That’s now changed thanks to a study by experts from the University of Nottingham.
The team looked at the medical records of over 58,700 patients with a diagnosis of dementia and over 225,500 patients without a diagnosis of dementia.
Here’s the really bad part…
Not only did the study findings show an increased risks of dementia for anticholinergic drugs overall — specifically for the anticholinergic antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, bladder drugs and epilepsy drugs — but the researchers found that there was nearly a 50 percent increased risk of dementia if you’ve used anticholinergic medication daily for three years or more.
The researchers say that with these new findings, it can be estimated that 10 percent of all dementia cases are due to the use of anticholinergic drugs.
That’s a huge number since hypertension is behind just 5 percent of cases, diabetes only 3 percent and a sedentary lifestyle another 6.5 percent.
Keep your body healthy without losing your mind
So, if you or a loved one takes one of these drugs, you need to be aware of the risks.
The researchers say that it’s important not to stop taking them, but instead talk to your doctor about your concerns and other options you may have for treatment.
Depending on how serious a condition is that requires these kinds of drugs, you may be limited in your choices. But there’s one area where I can share my experience and if you’re in the same boat I was, also offer the safer alternative I discovered…
A few years back, like many women my age, I started experiencing bladder weakness. Nothing serious… just as annoying as heck. Of course, the doctor prescribed an anticholinergic to help me out.
But you know me. I started researching and didn’t like what I found. Even back then there was speculation that these drugs could hurt my mind, and that was not a risk I was willing to take.
Instead I read the literature that said pumpkin seed extract could help. I also read that natural plant estrogens — called phytoestrogens — could help to naturally balance my estrogen levels to help support my bladder function.
I’m no longer plagued by fear that a sudden cough, sneeze or burst of laughter will sending me running for a change of clothes.
Take good care of you mind and body and they’ll take good care of you!