Hypertension In The Elderly – Deserves More Attention
Moser, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale University, recently reviewed in a
medical publication the topic of high blood
(hypertension) in octogenarians (people in their 80’s). In this
article, I will summarize some of the very important points that he made.
Hypertension (defined as a blood pressure over 140/90 mm
Hg) affects more than two out of three individuals over 75 years of age.
However, there has been a tendency not to treat these elevations in blood
pressure with blood pressure lowering (anti-hypertensive) medications. This
tendency is largely due to a common misconception that a normal systolic
pressure is “100 plus your age.” Thus, based on this mistaken idea, a
systolic blood pressure of 170 in a 70-year-old person would wrongly be
considered normal. Furthermore, there is the valid consideration that a
too rapid or too great of a reduction of blood pressure may be poorly tolerated
in older people. In fact, studies have shown that mild hypertension is often
not treated in this age group. For example, only 25 % of patients with systolic
pressures as high as 180-185 mm Hg currently are being treated.
To look further at the significance of this situation, Dr.
Moser reviewed the results of several large treatment trials. He collected
information on more than 700 octogenarians with hypertension who were treated
with blood pressure lowering medications. These data were compared to the data
in a similar number of octogenarians who were not treated.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014