Though high blood pressure increases risk of cardiovascular incidents, such as heart attacks, it was not linked to higher mortality in frail adults over 75, says a study.
The study by the University of Exeter analysed 415,980 electronic medical records of older adults in England before making the conclusion. The team found that people aged 75 or over with low blood pressure (below 130 / 80) had increased mortality rates in the follow-up, compared to those with normal blood pressure. This was especially pronounced in ‘frail’ individuals, who had 62 per cent increased risk of death during the ten year follow-up.
Older people aged 85 and over who had raised blood pressure actually had reduced mortality rates, compared to those with lower blood pressure, regardless of whether they were frail or not.
Jane Masoli, a geriatrician and NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow, who led the study as part of her PhD at the University of Exeter, said: “Internationally, guidelines are moving towards tight blood pressure targets, but our findings indicate that this may not be appropriate in frail older adults. We need more research to ascertain whether aggressive blood pressure control is safe in older adults, and then for which patient groups there may be benefit, so we can move towards more personalised blood pressure management in older adults.”