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  • Special Issue: Hypertension in the Elderly
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Special issue: hypertension in the elderly

Cardiovascular risk factors in the elderly


Although a number of risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have been identified in young and middle-aged adults, their prevalence and importance are less known in the elderly. Elderly people have a risk profile different from that of younger subjects, but representative data on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the elderly are difficult to find in the literature. Some typical ‘major’ risk factors, like blood pressure (BP), total cholesterol or left ventricular hypertrophy, do not have a clear predictive role for cardiovascular mortality in the elderly, especially in the extreme ages, while risk indicators usually labelled as ‘minor’ (serum uric acid, ventilatory function or proteinuria), do have a strong predictive value in these individuals. This must be taken into account when evaluating the cumulative risk of the elderly, in order to avoid overtreatment of subjects with mildly elevated BP or cholesterol.

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Casiglia, E., Palatini, P. Cardiovascular risk factors in the elderly. J Hum Hypertens 12, 575–581 (1998).

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