There is large evidence that treatment of hypertension significantly reduces the risk of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Although it is generally accepted that the benefit of antihypertensive treatment is largely explained by the reduction in systolic blood pressure, the optimal blood pressure target in elderly patients is still a topic of debate. Unfortunately, the clinical trials which demonstrated the benefit of antihypertensive treatment in old and very old patients with hypertension included relatively fit patients since frail patients were generally excluded. Available data suggest that when treating older adults, and especially frail older hypertensive adults, extra caution is appropriate in the setting of significant adverse events. Nonetheless, recent observations demonstrated a similar benefit from a more intensive compared with a less intensive blood pressure lowering in both fit and frail older adults. Of note, the rate of serious adverse events appears not dissimilar in the two treatment strategies, and not associated to frailty. Taken together, these findings support the concept that an intensive therapeutic strategy appears reasonable even in elderly hypertensive patients, particularly when the treatment is well tolerated.
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