Excess stomach acid at the wrong times, can cause discomfort and worse. This condition can be caused by a hiatal hernia, smoking, eating a lot and lying down after eating. Drugs used to counter this condition are called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) and include Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid.
Problems presently associated with using PPIs include increased fractures, pneumonia, and infection risk. Surprisingly, in a study of more than 70,000 people, Dr. Willy Gomm from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases found that the use of PPIs is associated with a 44 percent increased risk of dementia.
Michael Basista, MD, gastroenterologist with ProMedica Physicians said:
“All medications have the potential for side effects and should be used only when appropriate. There are alternatives to treat reflux, including H2 blockers, antacids, and most importantly lifestyle changes – especially weight loss. Of course, the potential consequences of not adequately treating an illness need to be considered, as well. Untreated reflux can lead to esophageal strictures and cancers. The study showed an association between proton pump inhibitor use and dementia, but did not prove that proton pump inhibitors cause dementia, so more research is required. It is too early to tell if PPIs actually cause the dementia.”