A new study revealed that seniors need to improve their blood pressure and cholesterol levels in order to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Cardiovascular disease prevention among seniors is often difficult, as they are underrepresented in clinical trials and many doctors believe it is too late to begin intervention. A clinical review suggested that the best treatments for seniors for reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease is to properly manage blood pressure and cholesterol.
Senior author Michelle M. Graham said, “Primary prevention trials in younger populations demonstrate small absolute risk reductions over many years, which is difficult to extrapolate to older patients. Some assume elderly individuals may not have the life expectancy to derive benefit from preventive cardiovascular therapy. However, their baseline level of risk, and subsequent relative risk reduction with appropriate therapy, may actually be higher than in younger patients.”
The new review found the following evidence:
- Statin therapy reduces the risk of both myocardial infarction and stroke – close monitoring is important to reduce the risk of adverse effects.
- Potential drug interactions are an important consideration when prescribing statin therapy in older patients because they have a high burden of concurrent medical conditions and are often taking multiple medications.
- Blood pressure control is paramount to prevent cardiovascular events and mortality in elderly patients, although the target should be individualized to the patient.
- Antiplatelet therapy should not be recommended due to the lack of net clinical benefit.
- Smoking cessation, increasing physical activity, and maintaining a healthy body weight can help reduce cardiovascular disease as well.
Dr. Graham concluded, “Primary prevention of CVD can improve health and reduce future healthcare costs. Prevention of a first cardiovascular event in elderly patients should be individualized based on consideration of the current evidence, as well as goals of therapy, functionality and/or frailty, comorbidities, and concomitant medications.”
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Mindfulness linked to better blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health.