Background: Adults aged 65 and older are disproportionately affected by hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes, which are established risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although risk reduction strategies among older adults, including control of CVD risk factors, can lead to a decline in premature CVD morbidity and mortality, the prevalence of these risk factors has generally increased in the past decade among elders and risk factor control rates have been suboptimal. We assess prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control rates among U.S. adults aged 65 and older with respect to hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes and describe predictors associated with awareness and management of these factors.
Methods: Analysis of nationally representative data collected from adults aged 65 and older (n = 3,810) participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004.
Results: Women have a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension than men (76.6% vs 63.0%) and a significantly lower rate of control when treated pharmacologically (42.9% vs 57.9%). Dyslipidemia prevalence is 60.3% overall, and women are significantly more likely to be aware of their condition than men (71.1% vs 59.1%). Diabetes affects 21.2% of older adults, and 50.9% of prevalent cases are treated pharmacologically. Goal attainment among those treated is problematic for all three conditions-hypertension (48.8%), dyslipidemia (64.9%), and diabetes (50.4%). Having two or more doctor visits annually is associated with goal attainment for dyslipidemia.
Conclusions: Knowledge of cardiovascular health in older adults and understanding gender gaps in awareness can help physicians and policymakers improve disease management and patient education programs.