Blood Pressure Drugs Cut Elderly Death Rate

Study finds surprise major benefit of treating those over 80
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2008 10:13 AM CDT
A new study shows strokes and heart attacks among the elderly may be cut significantly by drugs for hypertension rarely prescribed for older patients.    (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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(Newser) – Death rates, heart attacks, and strokes among people over 80 can be cut significantly by common blood pressure medication rarely given to older people, finds a new large-scale study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found death rates among the elderly could be cut 21% and heart attacks by 64%, reports the Guardian.

Doctors have tended to see high blood pressure as normal in the elderly, and have been reluctant to prescribe more medication to patients who were already on various drugs. "Our results clearly show that many patients aged 80 and over could benefit greatly," said the scientist who led the trial.