The People's Perspective on Medicine

Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment Leads to Falls in Vulnerable Elderly People

Older people treated aggressively for hypertension may be at higher risk for injuries from falling. Investigators tracked roughly 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries for three years. These senior citizens had high blood pressure. Most of them were taking medications to control hypertension.

Those receiving multiple medications, as so many older people do, were at significantly higher risk for falls leading to hip fractures and head injuries. People who had fallen in the previous year were more than twice as likely to experience another serious injury if they were taking antihypertensive medications.

Older patients who experience dizziness, drowsiness or unsteadiness as side effects of their medicine should discuss the benefits and risks of aggressive blood pressure control with their physicians.

[JAMA Internal Medicine, online, Feb. 24, 2014]

We describe the various types of blood pressure medicines and their pros and cons in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment. The 8-page guide also has advice on nondrug approaches that may help control blood pressure adequately with fewer medications.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Don’t you think you need a second opinion from a cardiologist who does not know your current doctor? I was given very bad advice and medication from a cardiologist at DeBakey Cardiology in Houston.
I was advised by an interested person to go immediately to another cardiologist.
I did and now I am only on 50 mg. losartan and may go off that. I am doing fine, no more high blood pressure. It was the first cardiologist who was making me have problems with medicines I didn’t need and overdoses at that.
Remember, with medicine it is Buyer Beware…. just as in any consumer transaction.

I don’t have a cough with Lisinopril HCTZ 20-25. I tried Losarthan because of itchiness but Losartan didn’t control my BP. We guessed the itchiness may be due to the blood thinners. I’d rather itch than have high BP.

My 86 year old Mom, who’s a diabetic and has high blood pressure, was recently switched from a Nitro Patch due to a skin reaction to Isosorbide. Could it possibly be causing night sweats? She does take other meds and goes for Would Care treatment for a diabetic foot ulcer. We are trying to rule out any causes of these night sweats.

Ask Eleanor who wrote above comment if she is also experiencing chronic cough? I was on lisinopril HCTZ for over 8 years and the doctor wouldn’t tell me that the problems I was having (including a cough that just wouldn’t go away) was the cause! It wasn’t until I switched to a doctor who specializes in patients over 60 (I’m 66) that I was taken off lisinopril and put on losartan. Less problems now and more steady blood pressure. I too would like to know: are there any specific recommendations for seniors and what is the web site one can go to?!?

It would be helpful to know the recommended blood pressure for seniors of 70 up. I’m concerned because I have been evaluated by a neurologist for falling and they couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m on medication (Lisinopril HCTZ 20-25) and blood pressure is around 112 over 70. I’m also on Xarelto 20mg.

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