A new nine-year blood pressure study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will, for the first time, add people over age 75, as stated in a news release dated yesterday, Oct. 4. People over age 75 have routinely been left out of these types of studies because it has been presumed a few extra years of life are all this would give them. However, with the first two years of the study expansion funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, researchers feel this is the time to take a look at the impact of systolic blood pressure numbers on older people; there may a larger return on investment than originally thought
The study will include 1,750 participants, and is called “Sprint Senior.”
The Sprint Senior study is looking at the top or systolic number of the blood pressure reading. Historically, it was thought a number of 140 was “good control.” That was more recently lowered to 130, and even that number can cause consternation in a doctor who is a little “hypervigilant.” A systolic reading of 120 will keep your doctor very happy.
The purpose of the study is to take a look at four of the 10 most common causes of death and disability in this age group, those being “heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and dementia.”
I have to believe there are some political overtones here. Certainly researchers are going to have to consider the ever-growing population of seniors. The “over-85” is the fastest growing age group, and that presents a daunting worry to the health care industry. However ,it presents an even larger worry to people like Barack Obama.
It isn’t coincidence that older people are being considered in research. If the country is going to be made up in large part of older people, then the country needs to know how to care for them and how to govern them.
Historically, the conditions being assessed now have been treated as the inevitable result of old age. However, people live on despite what the medical profession knows, and something as simple as essential hypertension can cause the biggest mysteries.
Aside from Alzheimer’s disease, this study couldn’t be more apropos.
Associated Content Website, Gary Davis, “Alzheimer’s Disease Research; Why the Urgency?”
NIH News Website, “NIH blood pressure trial expands to include more older adults”