Many people understand that they need to be careful of their blood pressure, with people often focusing on what they can do to reduce a high blood pressure, but in certain groups, a low blood pressure could actually be more dangerous.
That’s the finding of research carried out at the University of Exeter, which conducted a large-scale study into blood pressure guidelines among older adults.
This research, which looked at the electronic medical records of 415,980 patients, found that people over the age of 75 who have a low blood pressure (below 130/80) had increased mortality rates in the ten-year follow-up. That’s compared to those who recorded a normal blood pressure.
In fact, the researchers found that those patients who were described as frail had an increased risk of death of 62 per cent.
By contrast, high blood pressure wasn’t linked to higher mortality among frail patients over the age of 75. That’s despite the fact that high blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular problems for many people.
Jane Masoli, a geriatrician and lead author of the study, said that the findings indicate more research is needed to understand whether having “tight blood pressure targets” are appropriate for 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,” she asserted. This will allow healthcare providers to deliver personalised blood pressure management to their older patients, she added.
Earlier this year, the UK government announced a pilot scheme to offer high blood pressure testing in pharmacies.
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