Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For older hypertension patients, an unwelcome tradeoff: Blood pressure medications can increase serious fall risk

Date:
February 24, 2014
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Medications used by many older people to control their blood pressure also increase the risk of serious fall injuries by 30 percent to 40 percent -- injuries that have a similar effect on mortality and functional loss as the strokes and heart attacks the blood pressure drugs are meant to prevent -- according to a new study. "Older patients and their clinicians need to weigh the harms as well as the benefits in prescribing medications, particularly when the harms may be at least as serious as the diseases and events we hope the medications prevent," concludes the lead author.

Blood pressure drugs are linked to increased risk of falls in older patients.
Credit: Michael Helfenbein, Yale University

Medications used by many older people to control their blood pressure also increase the risk of serious fall injuries by 30% to 40% -- injuries that have a similar effect on mortality and functional loss as the strokes and heart attacks the blood pressure drugs are meant to prevent -- according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Feb. 24 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Related Articles


Clinicians have long assumed that blood pressure medications are safe and effective in all older adults. That is probably true in healthy older adults, but the same might not be true in a more typical population of older adults, who commonly have several other chronic conditions, note the researchers.

The study of 4,961 patients older than age 70 with hypertension examined the link between blood pressure medication use and serious injuries such as hip fractures and head injuries from falls. Among the patients, 14% percent took no blood pressure medications, 55% took moderate blood pressure medications, and 31% were on a high dose.

The research team found during a three-year follow-up of these patients that the risk for serious injuries from falls was higher for patients who used blood pressure medication than for non-users, and even higher for patients who had experienced a previous fall injury.

"Although no single study can settle the question and we cannot exclude the possibility that factors other than the medications accounted for the increased risk of injury, these medications may be more harmful in some individuals than thought," said lead author Mary E. Tinetti, M.D., the Gladys Philips Crofoot Professor of Medicine and Public Health and chief of the Section of Geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine.

Fall-related injuries like hip fractures and brain injuries are among the most common, disabling and expensive health conditions experienced by older adults. Falls account for 10% of emergency department visits and 6% of hospitalizations among those over age 65. Falls can also lead to functional decline, placement in a nursing home, restricted activity, and death.

"Older patients and their clinicians need to weigh the harms as well as the benefits in prescribing medications, particularly when the harms may be at least as serious as the diseases and events we hope the medications prevent," said Tinetti. "Patients may find themselves in the tough position of either choosing to continue their blood pressure medication and risk side effects that could lead to life-altering falls, or discontinuing their medications and risk heart attacks and stroke."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Mary E. Tinetti, Ling Han, David S. H. Lee, Gail J. McAvay, Peter Peduzzi, Cary P. Gross, Bingqing Zhou, Haiqun Lin. Antihypertensive Medications and Serious Fall Injuries in a Nationally Representative Sample of Older Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.14764

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "For older hypertension patients, an unwelcome tradeoff: Blood pressure medications can increase serious fall risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224171432.htm>.
Yale University. (2014, February 24). For older hypertension patients, an unwelcome tradeoff: Blood pressure medications can increase serious fall risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224171432.htm
Yale University. "For older hypertension patients, an unwelcome tradeoff: Blood pressure medications can increase serious fall risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224171432.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) 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