The study objective was to assess the prevalence, level of treatment, and control of hypertension in a general elderly population according to age and sociodemographic factors. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 7983 participants of the Rotterdam Study who were >/=55 years old and living in a district of Rotterdam. The prevalence of hypertension was based on blood pressure levels (>/=160/95 mm Hg) and the use of blood pressure-lowering medication for the indication of hypertension, type of treatment, and control of hypertension. Systolic blood pressure rises with age, whereas diastolic blood pressure declines. The prevalence of hypertension increases with age and was higher among women (39%) than among men (31%). About 80% of the hypertensives were aware of having hypertension, and 82% of the 80% were treated. For 70% of them, treatment was adequate with reference to conservative criteria. Hypertension was more prevalent among persons not living in a home for the elderly, for more-educated men, and for less-educated women. Persons without a partner and men living in a home for the elderly had a higher risk of being unaware of or of not being treated for existing hypertension. Treatment was more often successful among those living in a home for the elderly. The prevalence of hypertension was higher among older women and increased with age in both genders. A large proportion of hypertensive elderly persons were aware and were successfully treated for hypertension. The degree of awareness and control appeared to be affected by sociodemographic factors. More importantly, the majority of hypertensives did not have their hypertension well controlled. This group requires more attention by medical practitioners to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases in elderly persons.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Rossum, C., van de Mheen, D., Witteman, J., Mackenbach, J., Grobbee, D., & Hofman, A. (2000). Prevalence, treatment, and control of hypertension by sociodemographic factors among the Dutch elderly. Hypertension. Retrieved from