Rates of blood pressure control at the community level are low, particularly among older women with High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension, according to research presented Monday.
“Despite numerous trials demonstrating the benefits of blood pressure lowering among older individuals with hypertension, available data suggest that rates of treatment and control are suboptimal,” Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues note.
Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, the investigators assessed the overall frequency and control of hypertension in three age groups: younger than 60 years, 60 to 79 years, and 80 years or older. A total of 5,296 subjects were included in the analysis.
The researchers’ findings appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
As anticipated, the frequency of hypertension increased with age. Drug treatment for High Blood Pressure also rose with age, yet control rates were lowest among women in the oldest age group.
The percentage of hypertensive men with controlled blood pressure, defined as less than 140/90 mm Hg, did not change much with age, hovering around 37 percent. By contrast, among women, the percentage ranged from 38 percent in the youngest group to just 23 percent in the oldest group.
The risk of hypertension-related cardiovascular disease also increased markedly with age, the researchers point out. In the oldest age group, subjects with the worst hypertension were 2.4-times more likely to experience a major cardiovascular event than their peers with normal blood pressure.
“Short-term risks for cardiovascular disease are substantial, indicating the need for greater efforts at safe, effective risk reduction among the oldest patients with hypertension,” the investigators conclude.
SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, July 27, 2005.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD