Blood Pressure Control Among Older Adults With Hypertension: Narrative Review and Introduction of a Framework for Improving Care.
Although antihypertensive medications are effective, inexpensive, and recommended by clinical practice guidelines, a large percentage of older adults with hypertension have uncontrolled blood pressure (BP). Improving BP control in this population may require a better understanding of the specific challenges to BP control at older age. In this narrative review, we propose a framework for considering how key steps in BP management occur in the context of aging characterized by heterogeneity in function, multiple co-occurring health conditions, and complex personal and environmental factors. We review existing literature related to 4 necessary steps in hypertension control. These steps include the BP measure which can be affected by the technique, device, and setting in which BP is measured. Ensuring proper technique can be challenging in routine care. The plan includes setting BP treatment goals. Lower BP goals may be appropriate for many older adults. However, plans must take into account the generalizability of existing evidence, as well as patient and family's health goals. Treatment includes the management strategy, the expected benefits, and potential risks of treatment. Treatment intensification is commonly needed and can contribute to polypharmacy in older adults. Lastly, monitor refers to the need for ongoing follow-up to support a patient's ability to sustain BP control over time. Sustained BP control has been shown to be associated with a lower rate of cardiovascular disease and multimorbidity progression. Implementation of current guidelines in populations of older adults may be improved when specific challenges to BP measurement, planning, treating, and monitoring are addressed.
Bowling, CB; Lee, A; Williamson, JD
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