A recent study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) determined that an intensive treatment of high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart disease in older adults. The significant risk for heart disease was reduced by 30 percent without increasing it in other illness or complications.
The study stated that treating systolic blood pressure with the intensive target of less than 120 mm Hg among adults aged 75 or older resulted in significantly lower rates of fatal and nonfatal major cardiovascular events. Including death from any cause, researchers concluded in the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
“These findings have substantial implications for the future of high blood pressure therapy in older adults because of its high prevalence in this age group, and because of the devastating consequences high blood pressure complications can have on the independent function of older people,” said Dr. Jeff Williamson.
It’s worth mentioning that Williamson is the study’s author and professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
An intensive blood pressure treatment was compared with the standard among the population of less than 140 mm Hg. The study was held during a long-term and follow-up study that lasted almost four years. Other risks such as fainting, falls, hospitalization and acute kidney injury did not show any increased with the intensive treatment. All of this despite speculation from some experts, according to the study.
The gathered data came from more than 2,000 elderly who provided a complete follow-up data. The data was compiled through the years after they were separated into two groups with the different treatments, the standard and the intensive one.
Other trials have proven that elderly with a controlled hypertension live longer than those who do not have a treatment. However, a target blood pressure has not been definitively established or generally recommended, as reported by Medscape.
— NIH NHLBI (@nih_nhlbi) May 19, 2016
Nearly three-fourths of the U.S. population aged 75 or older are currently living with hypertension. And hypertension is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease and death. But even though there is a large population suffering for the illness, several medical panels have provided inconsistent guidance about what is the optimal blood pressure goal. Researchers were able to give an accurate blood pressure goal for the senior population, according to a press release from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
While several medical groups recommended a target blood pressure of 160 mm Hg for persons aged 80 or older, others recommend a target of 150 mm Hg for adults aged 60 or older, the statement added. The study had the goal to provide evidence that could unify a singular fact among the several opinions.
According to Williamson, some of the most vulnerable ambulatory people in the community who may suffer complications of high blood pressure can benefit from intensive blood pressure lowering and it is safe to do so.
Looking at elderly people who are hospitalized in the year that they become disabled, something interesting comes to light. For elderly people leaving its home, about half the time those diagnoses or hospitalizations result from complications of high blood pressure. Which carries complications such as heart failure, stroke and heart attack, Williamson added.