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Hypertension Meds and the Elderly
We worry about our parent's and grandparent's health just as much as our kid's or our own. We want to know that the medications they’re taking are safe. Yet when it comes to drug trials, senior citizens are largely left out of the picture, which makes it unclear whether certain medications will work for them, particularly blood pressure medications.
The concern was that senior citizens tend to have diseased arteries, which might require more blood pressure rather than less to get blood to the body’s organs. If that theory is true, then blood pressure medications might actually harm the elderly rather than help them.
That’s why the clinical study HYVET (Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial) was started. Researchers looked at participants at least 80-years-old and divided them into two groups. One group took blood pressure medications, and the other group took a placebo. After four years, the study participants who were assigned the blood pressure medications had 30% fewer strokes and a higher than 20% reduction in their overall health and cardiovascular health. They also had a 64% lower incidence of heart failure compared to those taking placebos.
This study is an important step that shows senior citizens can benefit from blood pressure medications.
What health diagnosis or medications do you worry about with your parents or grandparents? How do you help them stay healthy? [The New York Times]