NYMC Faculty Publications


Pharmacological Management of Hypertension in the Elderly and Frail Populations

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INTRODUCTION: Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality in the elderly. Hypertension is an important modifiable risk factor that contributes to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of hypertension is known to increase with age, and hypertension has been associated with an increase in risk for cardiovascular disease in the elderly. There is a wealth of evidence that supports aggressive control of blood pressure to lower cardiovascular risk in the general population. However, there are limited data to guide management of hypertension in the elderly and frail patient subgroups. These subgroups are inadequately treated due to lack of clarity regarding blood pressure thresholds, treatment targets, comorbidities, frailty, drug interactions from polypharmacy, and high cost of care. Areas covered: We review the current evidence behind the definition, goals, and treatments for hypertension in the elderly and frail and outline a strategy that can be used to guide antihypertensive pharmacotherapy in this population. Expert commentary: Lower blood pressure to 20/10 mm Hg over the goal blood pressure. Antihypertensive treatment regimens must be tailored to each individual based on their comorbidities, risk for adverse effects, and potential drug interactions ( Figure 1 ).