When low blood pressure is too low in old age

Sven Streit is a general practitioner at the Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM) in Bern (CH) and PhD Candidate at Leiden University Medical Center (NL). In this blog, he introduces the results of his PhD in a recent Age & Ageing paper on blood pressure, mortality risk and cognitive decline in a population-based cohort of oldest-old (all 85 years) in Leiden. He tweets @Sven_Streit

With increasing age, blood pressure rises as a consequence of arterial stiffness. It has been debated whether or not to it is beneficial to treat hypertension in old age, especially in >75-year-olds when they have multimorbidity, polypharmacy or frailty. Large hypertension trials showed that lowering blood pressure in over 60-year-olds is beneficial and lowers the risk for myocardial infarction, stroke and all-cause mortality, even in >80-year-olds. However, these trials lack generalizability and typically excluded patients with multimorbidity and frailty. At the same time, observational studies raise concerns about lowering blood pressure too much, since there are several cohort studies showing a reverse association between low blood pressure and increased mortality and accelerated cognitive decline starting from age >75-year-olds. Continue reading

High blood pressure in old age: revisiting the concept “the lower, the better”

aaGiulia Ogliari is a geriatrician and PhD Candidate at Milan University (Italy) / Leiden University Medical Center (NL). In this blog, she introduces her recent Age & Ageing paper on blood pressure and mortality risk in geriatric outpatients in Milan.

‘’What is my blood pressure, doctor?’’ Everyone, old or young, is curious to know what their blood pressure is. And everyone is convinced that the lower their blood pressure is, the better it is. Yet, this may not be the case for the older adults.

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