The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age in women. Blood pressure control is more difficult to achieve in older women, and despite well-controlled blood pressure, the cardiovascular mortality remains high. However, the underlying mechanisms are not understood.Methods:
Nineteen women with uncontrolled hypertension on drug treatment (70 ± 2 [SE] years, ambulatory awake blood pressure; 152 ± 2/84 ± 2 mm Hg), 19 with controlled hypertension (68 ± 1 years, 128 ± 2/71 ± 2 mm Hg), and 31 healthy normotensive women (68 ± 1 years, 127 ± 1/73 ± 1 mm Hg) were recruited. Participants were weaned from antihypertensive drugs and underwent 3 weeks of run-in before cardiac-vascular assessments. Left ventricular morphology was evaluated with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Arterial load and vascular stiffness were measured via ultrasound and applanation tonometry.Results:
Left ventricular mass normalized by body surface area was not different between hypertension groups (uncontrolled vs controlled: 50.0 ± 1.7 vs 51.8 ± 2.3 g/m2), but it was lower in the normotensive group (41.7 ± 0.9 g/m2; one-way analysis of variance [ANOVA] P = 0.004). Likewise, central pulse wave velocity was not different between hypertension groups (11.5 ± 0.6 vs 11.1 ± 0.5 m/s) and lower in the normotensive group (9.1 ± 0.3 m/s; 1-way ANOVA P = 0.0001). Total peripheral resistance was greater in uncontrolled hypertension (HTN) compared with normotensive group (2051 ± 323 vs 1719 ± 380 dyn*s/cm5), whereas controlled HTN group (1925 ± 527 dyn*s/cm5) was not different to either groups.Conclusion:
Regardless of current blood pressure control, hypertensive older women exhibited increased cardiac mass and arterial stiffness compared with normotensives. Future large-scale longitudinal studies are warranted to directly investigate the mechanisms for the high cardiovascular mortality among older hypertensive women with well-controlled blood pressure.