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High blood pressure not well controlled among older men and women

Nearly three-quarters of men and women age 80 and older have high blood pressure, but their conditions are frequently not kept under control, according to new data from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) long-standing Framingham Heart Study. In this age group, only 38 percent of men and 23 percent of women had blood pressures that met targets set forth in the National High Blood Pressure Education Program's (NHBPEP) clinical guidelines.

Full study results will be published in the July 27, 2005, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This study shows that while the rate of high blood pressure increased with age, numbers of people receiving treatment for the condition did not. Seventy-four percent of people age 80 and older had high blood pressure, compared with 63 percent of those age 60 to 79 and 27 percent of those under the age of 60. However, less than two thirds of hypertensive patients in the two older age groups received treatment.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease and a leading cause of many life-threatening conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

"Many more men and women are now living healthy and active lives into their 80s and 90s. As clinicians, we should not loosen our management of high blood pressure just because a patient has had the good fortune to reach an older age," said Daniel Levy, M.D., director of the Framingham Heart Study and a study co-author. "For these patients, managing high blood pressure may make the difference between living many more healthy years, or spending those years recovering from a debilitating stroke or heart attack."

Investigators from the Framingham Heart Study, a landmark epidemiological study that began in 1948, analyzed data from its original cohort of participants, enrolled in 1948-1952, and their offspring, enrolled 1971-1973. In all, this s
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov
301 496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
26-Jul-2005


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