Data from the Women's Health Initiative offers a glimpse of hypertension treatment in older women. Based on information from nearly 99,000 women aged 50 to 79, researchers found:
- 37.8% had high blood pressure (defined as 140/90 mmHg or being on medication for high blood pressure).
- While 64.3% of those were receiving medication, blood pressure was controlled in only 36.1%.
- More women on hormone replacement therapy were hypertensive than those not taking hormones.
- 44.3% of the hypertensive women used diuretics either alone or in combination with other classes of drugs.
- Women taking diuretics alone had better blood pressure control than those taking any of the other drugs by themselves.
The researchers, writing in the journal Hypertension, concluded that hypertension in older women is not being treated aggressively enough, especially not in those most at risk for stroke and heart disease because of their age.
Source: Wassertheil-Smoller S, Anderson G, Psaty BM, et al. Hypertension and its treatment in postmenopausal women. Hypertension, 2000;36:780. (Abs.)