Hypertension and Life Expectancy
Hypertension or raised blood pressure is an extremely common condition and an extremely important one. And as we grow older the commoner it becomes. 60% of men and women over the age of 60 will have hypertension of varying degrees requiring treatment.
If I tole you that by properly controlling your hypertension you could reduce your chances of stroke, heart attack and dementia by 30% would you be interested? Because that is exactly what a recent study reported in JAMA demonstrates. Here 2,636 men and women participated. They were divided into two groups, those whose hypertension was well controlled and those not so well controlled and followed for 3 years.
I have to admit that I found the results of this study quite shocking and made me review my own situation and to take my hypertension more seriously. A 30% reduction in serious morbidity is a considerable reward for controlling ones BP properly. In an interview following the study Dr Jeff Wialliamson had this to say:
“This subgroup analysis of the SPRINT trial is significant because many physicians and patients have been concerned about blood pressure being too low in the elderly. These results are reassuring and could very well change current medical practice by lowering the blood pressure goal even in people over 75 years old.”
I absolutely concur with my colleague here. My tendency was to under treat hypertension in older people fearing that over enthusiasm in this matter might put the patient at increased risk of falling. Following this report I will now need to revive my attitude to raised BP and the elderly.
I strongly recommend your checking you own blood pressure in the comfort and calm of your own home. It will give you a truer reading and save you all sorts of hassle. Blood pressures taken in a doctor's office may be artificiality high caused by what we call The White-coat Syndrome.