Effects of gender and ethnic group on blood pressure control in the elderly

Am J Hypertens. 1996 Jun;9(6):529-35. doi: 10.1016/0895-7061(96)00026-x.


In order to determine the adequacy of blood pressure treatment in black and white elderly men and women, the authors performed a cross-sectional population survey in Central North Carolina in 1986-1987. Participants included a random sample of noninstitutionalized individuals age 65 years or older. Blacks were oversampled. A health questionnaire was administered, and blood pressure was measured. Of 5,223 eligible persons, 4,162 (80%) participated. Fifty-four percent of subjects were black and 65% were women. Sixteen percent of the study subjects were white men, 30% white women, 19% black men, and 35% black women. The mean age was 73 years. Fifty-three percent had hypertension. Among hypertensives, 80.8% were taking blood pressure medication. Among treated hypertensives, blood pressure was adequately controlled, (measured diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or lower) in 85.6%. Women were 52% more likely than men and blacks were 40% less likely than whites to exhibit adequate blood pressure control. Older age and smoking were also associated with better blood pressure control. The authors conclude that hypertension is more likely to be controlled in elderly women than men and less likely to be well-controlled in elderly blacks than whites. The choice of antihypertensive agent may also be important. Further investigation is needed into the mechanisms accounting for the observed sex and race differences.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Black People
  • Black or African American
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Income
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Racial Groups
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • White People


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Diuretics