Low prevalence of postural hypotension among community-dwelling elderly

JAMA. 1987 Sep 18;258(11):1511-4.


Postural hypotension (PH) has a prevalence of about 20% in most large studies of elderly individuals; however, these studies do not exclude subjects with diseases and medications known to cause PH. We sought to determine the prevalence of PH in healthy, community-living, elderly individuals in contrast to those with known risk factors for the condition. We measured supine and one-minute standing blood pressures in 300 independently living elderly persons who visited a senior citizen health screening program. Subjects were divided into two groups: those with known risk factors (n = 175) and those without (n = 125). The prevalence of PH (systolic decrease, greater than or equal to 20 mm Hg) for for the entire population was 10.7%. In the group with risk factors, the prevalence was 13.7% (24/175), compared with 6.4% in the group without risk factors (8/125). Supine hypertension was associated with PH, but there was no relationship between the presence of PH and age, history of falls, symptoms on standing, or recent meal. These data suggest that PH is a relatively uncommon finding in healthy elderly, its prevalence is significantly related to risk factors, and its association with falls or symptoms may be less than previously reported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Community Health Centers
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk