Heartburns could be pretty excruciating, just like the other symptoms of acid refluxes. For people who experience acid reflux pretty frequently, proton pump inhibitors are the doctor’s most popular prescription. However, doctors don’t talk about the associated risk of dementia.
That’s because we’ve only just found out that proton pump inhibitors could be harmful to our health. A recent study has shown that a certain percentage of its users are at a higher risk of dementia.
So, if you’ve been directed by a physician to take this medication, don’t fret. You are only at risk when the drug is used in a certain way.
There’s a reason why this medication has been and still remains the leading prescription for the annoying acid reflux disease. The answer is pretty simple and easy to guess. It provides the fastest and best relief. How?
The human stomach produces acid. It’s watery and colorless and is called gastric acid in medical terms. This acid helps break down your food.
If something goes wrong, this acid can flow into unwanted areas, such as the esophagus, which is a tube that transports food from your mouth to your stomach.
When this occurs, trouble starts. The body begins to react, producing unpleasant symptoms such as ongoing cough, chest pain, and heartburn. That’s what doctors call acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if it occurs frequently.
GERD can stop the esophagus from working properly as well as increase our risks of cancer. So, how do proton pump inhibitors solve the problem?
Proton pump inhibitors combat acid reflux by attacking the enzymes that produce gastric acid in the stomach. So what have scientists found?
A study published in the medical journal “Neurology” has found that although there is no proof that proton pump inhibitors cause dementia, they increase its risks. However, it’s only users who take the medication for more than four years that face such a risk.
The research found that people who have taken the drug for 4.4 years had a 33% greater chance of developing dementia. Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, the author of the study and a vascular neurologist at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, offers some advice to people who may be affected.
“Patients should talk to their doctors and share with them all the medications they are taking,” he said. “They can review the medications, including any over-the-counter medications they may be taking, and discuss the reasons for taking each medication with their doctor,” he added.
This study is just one of several investigations that have linked the use of this drug to health challenges. Other studies have found links between proton pump inhibitors and kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.
If you or anyone you love has cause to take this medication, take note that extended use could expose you to dementia.
Dementia remains a serious health challenge. About 1 in 3 persons 85 and older suffer from the ailment. Hopefully, knowledge about this new finding will promote the safer use of proton pump inhibitors and help reduce the number of people who are at risk of dementia.