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Frail, Older Adults With High Blood Pressure May Have Lower Risk Of Mortality

Posted Jul 16 2012 6:36pm

A new study suggests that higher blood pressure is associated with lower mortality in extremely frail, elderly adults.

The study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at a nationally representative group of 2,340 adults ages 65 and older. The researchers found that lower blood pressure protected healthier, robust older adults but the same may not be true for their more frail counterparts.

Lead author Michelle Odden, a public health epidemiologist at Oregon State University, said blood pressure rises naturally as people age. Her study used walking speed as a measure of frailty. Participants were asked to walk a distance of about 20 feet at their normal rate. Those who walked less than 0.8 meters per second were defined as slower walkers. Those who walked faster than 0.8 meters per second were in the second group of more robust adults, who also had a lower prevalence of diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.

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