|Title||The contributions of hypertension diagnosis and blood pressure control to subjective life expectancy in a representative sample of older U.S. adults.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||Forthcoming|
|Authors||Zacher, M, Wang, J, Short, SE|
|Journal||The Journals of Gerontology, Series B|
|Keywords||Biomarkers, blood pressure monitoring, health beliefs, hypertension awareness, subjective survival expectations|
OBJECTIVES: High blood pressure (BP) or hypertension, a major risk factor for death and disease, is pervasive among older adults. While reducing BP to targeted levels can prevent adverse outcomes, rates of successful BP control remain suboptimal, and it is unclear whether older adults recognize its proven benefits. The current study sheds light on older adults' beliefs about the consequences of hypertension and benefits of BP control by examining how their self-reports of hypertension diagnosis and BP control, as well as measured BP, contribute to subjective life expectancy (SLE), their perceived probability of surviving to a target age.
METHODS: In a representative sample of U.S. adults ages 50-89 from the 2006-2014 Health and Retirement Study (n=18,979 respondents), we analyze SLE using generalized linear regression.
RESULTS: Diagnosed hypertension is associated with lower SLE, regardless of measured BP. Among diagnosed hypertensives, those who self-report controlled BP expect to live longer than those who do not. Finally, about one in ten older adults have high measured BP but have never been diagnosed with hypertension, and most diagnosed hypertensives with uncontrolled measured BP self-report their BP as controlled.
DISCUSSION: Older adults appear to recognize the harmful effects of hypertension and the benefits of BP control, but often lack knowledge of their own hypertension and BP control statuses. Health communications should continue to stress the value of BP control, although improvements may require increased hypertension awareness and BP monitoring.