Correlates of Blood Pressure in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study

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Abstract

Although elevated blood pressure is an important predictor of cardiovascular disease and stroke in the elderly, little information exists on the distribution and risk factor correlates of blood pressure in this group. As part of the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based cohort study of 5201 men and women aged 65 to 101 years, we investigated correlates of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Multiple regression analyses were conducted for all participants and a subgroup of 2482 without coronary heart disease and not on antihypertensive therapy (the “healthier” subgroup). In the total group, independent predictors of diastolic blood pressure included heart rate, aortic root dimension, creatinine, hematocrit, alcohol use, and black race (positive associations) and internal carotid artery wall thickness, mitral early/late peak flow velocity, white blood cell count, cigarette smoking, and age (negative associations). Positive predictors of systolic blood pressure included mitral late peak flow velocity, left ventricular mass, common carotid artery wall thickness, serum albumin, factor VII, diabetes, alcohol use, and age; negative predictors were coronary heart disease, uric acid, height, and smoking. In the healthier subgroup, positive predictors of diastolic blood pressure included heart rate, hematocrit, serum albumin, creatinine, and body weight, whereas mitral early/ late peak flow velocity, serum potassium, smoking, and age inversely related to diastolic pressure. For the same group, common carotid artery wall thickness, left ventricular mass, serum albumin, factor VII, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and age were directly related to systolic blood pressure, whereas serum potassium was inversely related. Both systolic and diastolic pressures varied considerably by geographic site. Thus, in the elderly blood pressure is associated with a variety of factors as previously reported in younger populations and also with cardiovascular disease status, subclinical disease, and several blood chemistry variables not previously reported.

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