Blood Pressure Declines in the Elderly Years Before Death
Blood pressure in older adults gradually begins to decline 14 years or so before death, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. Researchers at UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut, and the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom, who performed this study, say these findings indicate health care providers should carefully consider what declining blood pressure means in elderly patients.
For the study, researchers looked at the electronic medical records of 46,634 British citizens who had died at age 60 or older, including people who were considered healthy at the time of their deaths, as well as those with chronic conditions like heart disease or dementia. They discovered the steepest blood pressure declines in people with heart failure, dementia, recent weight loss, and those diagnosed with hypertension.
But long-term declines in blood pressure also occurred without a medical diagnosis, which means blood pressure decreases late in life even without treatment for high blood pressure or other conditions. The researchers caution that their findings do not suggest hypertension shouldn’t be treated in older adults or that people should stop taking blood pressure medications as they age.