Latest Issue of Science News


News

Treat ’em

The elderly benefit from lowered blood pressure

People age 80 and over who have high blood pressure live longer if they receive drugs to lower it, a new study finds. While that statement might seem obvious, medical opinion has been unclear on the advisability of treating hypertension in the very elderly.

Some research has failed to show benefits from reducing blood pressure in such people, and other studies have even associated high blood pressure with longer survival in the group.

“That association probably didn’t reflect that low blood pressure was bad for you,” says Nigel Beckett, a geriatrician at Imperial College London. Reducing high blood pressure consistently benefits people in other age groups. More likely, people with low blood pressure didn’t live as long because they also had cancer, dementia, heart problems or other conditions that depressed their blood pressure, he says.

Nevertheless, many physicians have hesitated to treat high blood pressure in

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.