Never Too Old for Good Blood Pressure Control

by Dr. S. Russell Vester, MD 22. June 2014 08:00

Dr. S. Russell Vester

Many doctors and patients harbor the notion that as people get older they don’t need as careful attention to their blood pressure as they did in their younger years. For unclear reasons the notion had developed that once you are 80 years old you somehow are able to “tolerate” blood pressure on the higher side without undue consequences. Recent studies have shown this to be decidedly untrue.

In 2008 the HYVET (HYpertension in the Very Elderly Trial) data clearly demonstrated the benefits of good blood pressure control in the 80 and over age group. There was a 30% reduction in strokes, 23% reduction in cardiac deaths, a 64% reduction in heart failure and 21% reduction in all-cause mortality. Wow! Wow! Wow!

As a result of this study’s findings and other available information, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have recently issued their first set of guidelines for management of blood pressures in those more senior. For individuals in the 65 to 79 year age group, blood pressure should be maintained at less than 140/90 mmHg. For age 80 and over a slight increase in the upper number (systolic) to 145 mmHg is acceptable.

One of the biggest problems with blood pressure management in the elderly is simply the cost of medications. A fixed income makes it difficult to afford one or more new pills. One would think that the substantial reductions in stroke and heart failure seen with good blood pressure control would generate large savings in overall health care costs. This stands to reason in my book. Unfortunately this has yet to be proven, so additional financial help for seniors is not on the horizon until some enterprising researcher puts the HYVET data through a thorough cost/benefit analysis.

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From the Heart...

Comments (2) -

Denver Smith
Denver Smith
6/17/2015 4:32:57 PM #

Always encouraging to read blog posts like this one. Thanks for writing. Do you have any specific meds that you say work better than others. More specifically, I'm looking for low cost meds for blood pressure. Thanks!

jim dean
jim dean
6/21/2015 9:37:21 PM #

I AM 75 YEARS OLD MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS 121-7O .I USE AN ARB 100 MG 1 PER DAY COST $9.00/MO.NO OTHER COMMENT I AM MY ONLY ADVOCATE.ONE  SIZE FITS ALL DOES NOT FIT ALL.MISTAKES,ASSUMPTIONS,TRAIL AND ERROR,GREED ARE KILLING MANY SENIORS ETC.      I AM MY ON LAB RAT.CHECK MY BLOOD PRESSURE,LIPIDS,FASTING GLUCOSE ETC.I CAN NOT WRITE MY OWN PRESCRIPTION ,SO I AM FORCED TO GET IT FROM A DOCTOR. JESUS REBELED AGAINEST A CORRUPT SYSTEM HE DIED A HORRIBLE DEATH.    DR.OZ 2011  "DOCTORS ARE ARROGANT".I DEVELOPED WHITE COAT SYNDROME.EXERCISE,WEIGHTS,FLEXIBLITY,NUTRITION THE CORRECT CARBS,PROT,FATS  ,FIBER,0 SIMPLE CARBS,NO ALCOHOL,SMOKES ETC.BEEN THERE DOING IT!!!

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