Optimal management of hypertension in elderly patients
Maria Czarina Acelajado
Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
Abstract: Hypertension is a common and important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The prevalence of hypertension, particularly isolated systolic hypertension, increases with advancing age, and this is partly due to the age-related changes in the arterial tree, leading to an increase in arterial stiffness. Therapeutic lifestyle changes, such as reduced dietary sodium intake, weight loss, regular aerobic activity, and moderation of alcohol consumption, have been shown to benefit elderly patients with hypertension. Lowering blood pressure (BP) using pharmacological agents reduces the risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, with no difference in risk reduction in elderly patients compared to younger hypertensives. Guidelines recommend a BP goal of <140/90 in hypertensive patients regardless of age and <130/80 in patients with concomitant diabetes or kidney disease, and lowering the BP further has not been shown to confer any additional benefit. Moreover, the choice of antihypertensive does not seem to be as important as the degree of BP lowering. Special considerations in the treatment of elderly hypertensive patients include cognitive impairment, dementia, orthostatic hypotension, and polypharmacy.
Keywords: hypertension, elderly, treatment, blood pressure