ACC/AHA Issue Blood Pressure Control Guidelines for Elderly

Aim is to help practitioners control hypertension in older adults and reduce risks for it

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have released a consensus document to help clinicians control and reduce the risks for high blood pressure in elderly adults; the document has been published online April 25 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The key reason for developing the document was based on the results of the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial, as the data revealed that antihypertensive therapy among individuals aged 80 years and older is associated with a 30 percent reduction in stroke, a 23 percent reduction in cardiac death, a 64 percent reduction in heart failure, and a 21 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.

The consensus document addresses the appropriate therapeutic target for elderly individuals, use of medications as appropriate, initiation and routine monitoring of antihypertensive treatment, and encouragement of lifestyle changes such as regular physical activity, restriction of salt, weight control, smoking cessation, and avoiding excessive alcohol intake.

"Treating hypertension in the elderly is particularly challenging because they usually have several health problems and a greater prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiac events. There also needs to be greater vigilance to avoid treatment-related side effects such as electrolyte disturbances, renal dysfunction, and excessive orthostatic blood pressure decline," Wilbert S. Aronow, M.D., of New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and one of the chairs of the ACC/AHA writing committee, said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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