Background: Results of previous studies of white older adults suggest that antihypertensive medications preserve cognition. We assessed the long-term effect of antihypertensive medications on cognitive function in a community sample of African American older adults. Methods: We conducted longitudinal surveys and clinical assessment of cognitive function in a random sample of 2212 community-dwelling African Americans 65 years and older. We identified 1900 participants without evidence of cognitive impairment at baseline, 1617 of whom had subsequent follow-up information, and 946 of whom had blood pressure measurements. Cognitive function was measured at baseline and at 2 and 5 years by means of scores on the Community Screening Instrument for Dementia and neuropsychological and clinical assessment for dementia and cognitive impairment. Prescription and nonprescription medication use was derived from in-home inspection of medications and participant and informant reports. Results: Of 1900 participants, 288 (15.2%) developed incident cognitive impairment. Using logistic regression to control for the effects of age, sex, education, baseline cognitive scores, and hypertension and angina or myocardial infarction, we found that antihypertensive medications reduced the odds of incident cognitive impairment by 38% (odds ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval, 0.45-0.84). Corresponding analysis using blood pressure measurements on the subset of participants was inconclusive. Conclusion: Antihypertensive medication use is associated with preservation of cognitive function in older African American adults.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine