Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Frail, older adults with high blood pressure may have lower risk of mortality

Date:
July 16, 2012
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
A new study suggests that higher blood pressure is associated with lower mortality in extremely frail, elderly adults. The study looked at a nationally representative group of 2,340 adults ages 65 and older. The researchers found that lower blood pressure protected healthier, robust older adults but the same may not be true for their more frail counterparts.

This chart designed by OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences researcher Michelle Odden shows the link between elevated blood pressure, walking speed, and mortality.
Credit: Courtesy of Michelle Odden/Oregon State University.

A new study suggests that higher blood pressure is associated with lower mortality in extremely frail, elderly adults.

Related Articles


The study, published July 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Association's (JAMA) Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at a nationally representative group of 2,340 adults ages 65 and older. The researchers found that lower blood pressure protected healthier, robust older adults but the same may not be true for their more frail counterparts.

Lead author Michelle Odden, a public health epidemiologist at Oregon State University, said blood pressure rises naturally as people age. Her study used walking speed as a measure of frailty. Participants were asked to walk a distance of about 20 feet at their normal rate. Those who walked less than 0.8 meters per second were defined as slower walkers. Those who walked faster than 0.8 meters per second were in the second group of more robust adults, who also had a lower prevalence of diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.

The third group included those who were not able to complete the walking test for various reasons, including inability to walk 20 feet.

"As we age, our blood vessels lose elasticity and becomes stiff," Odden said. "Higher blood pressure could be a compensatory mechanism to overcome this loss of vascular elasticity and keep fresh blood pumping to the brain and heart."

Odden said the mortality differences between the fast walkers and slow walkers or non-completers can be explained simply -- everyone ages differently.

"There is a profound difference in the physiological age of an 80-year-old man who golfs every day, and someone who needs a walker to get around," she said. "So in the fast walkers, high blood pressure may be more indicative of underlying disease, not just a symptom of the aging process."

Among the faster walkers, those with high blood pressure had a 35 percent greater risk of dying compared with those with normal blood pressure.

In contrast, there was no association between high blood pressure and mortality in the slow walking group. Strikingly, those who were unable to complete the walking test had the opposite results -- those with higher blood pressure had a 62 percent lower mortality rate.

Since this is one of the first studies to examine walking speed, mortality and blood pressure, Odden cautioned against people making health decisions based on these early findings.

"Any sort of decision regarding medication use should be done in consultation with a physician," she said. "Our study supports treating high blood pressure in healthy, active older adults. But in frail older adults, with multiple chronic health conditions, we need to take a closer look at what sorts of effects high blood pressure could serve and whether having a higher blood pressure could be protective."

Odden is an expert on chronic disease and disease prevention in aging populations, particularly in regard to cardiovascular health and kidney disease. Her work is funded by the National Institute on Aging and the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Frail, older adults with high blood pressure may have lower risk of mortality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716162947.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2012, July 16). Frail, older adults with high blood pressure may have lower risk of mortality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716162947.htm
Oregon State University. "Frail, older adults with high blood pressure may have lower risk of mortality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716162947.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins