Hypertension is one of the most important clinical conditions affecting older people. Its prevalence in this group of subjects is above 60% and continues to grow. Isolated systolic hypertension accounts for the majority of cases as systolic blood pressure increases with advancing age, while diastolic blood pressure remains unchanged or even decreases. Nowadays hypertension is a well established risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease among older people and its treatment is considered mandatory. The general recommended blood pressure goal in uncomplicated hypertension is less than 140/90 mmHg, even if this target in older people is based mainly on expert opinion. All patients should receive nonpharmacological treatment, in particular reduction in excess body weight when body mass index is greater than 26 kg/m2 and dietary salt restriction. Older patients with hypertension may also benefit from smoking cessation, physical activity and alcohol restriction. In relation to drug therapy, a low-dose thiazide diuretic could be a good first step. Other first-line drugs are long-acting calcium channel blockers, generally dihydropyridines, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers. The HYVET study showed a specific protective effect of indapamide with or without perindopril in people older than 80 years. Since monotherapy normalizes blood pressure in only 40–50% of cases, a combination of two or more drugs is often required. Moreover the addiction of a second drug may reduce the dose-related adverse effects of the first one. Finally, compliance with treatment should always be achieved by giving complete information to patients and simplifying the drug regimen as much as possible.
Keywords: elderly, hypertension, indapamide, perindopril, treatment