The purpose of this project is to conduct a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) to determine if choice of antihypertensive medication influences changes in functional status and other cardiovascular risk factors among older persons with hypertension. Functional status, determined by measures of physical performance, is an important predictor of cardiovascular outcomes in older adults. Seniors with compromised function experience more CV events, have a higher risk of undergoing cardiac surgery and higher risk of CVD-related death than higher-functioning peers. Seniors with hypertension experience accelerated declines in function, and presently physical exercise is the primary strategy for preventing this decline. However, functional responses to exercise are highly variable and appear to be influenced by the type of antihypertensive medication(s) utilized to control blood pressure. Preliminary evidence suggests that, compared to other first- line antihypertensive agents, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors enhance exercise-derived improvements in functional status among hypertensive seniors. This RCT will test this hypothesis. Sedentary men and women > 65 years of age with functional limitations and hypertension will be recruited from two sites to participate in a 36 week intervention study. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three first-line antihypertensive agents: (1) the ACE inhibitor perindopril, (2) AT1 receptor antagonist losartan, or (3) the thiazide diuretic hydrochlorothiazide. All participants will also participate in a structured aerobic exercise intervention. The primary aim is to determine if, compared to losartan and HCTZ, perindopril improves self- paced gait speed. The secondary aim is to determine the relative effect of perindopril on a) exercise capacity, b) body mass and composition, and c) circulating indices of cardiovascular risk. In exploratory analyses, skeletal muscle biopsies will be collected to evaluate the influence of study drugs on indices of skeletal muscle angiogenesis. This study is expected to differentiate beneficial effects of three FDA-approved antihypertensive medications on an emerging cardiovascular risk factor in a clinically-relevant population. Thus the study has important implications for expeditiously influencing clinical practice guidelines in the prescription of antihypertensive drugs to millions of Americans.

Public Health Relevance

? Cardiovascular risk reduction among hypertensive older adults is an important public health priority. This trial will provide critical data regarding the impact of current pharmacologic and lifestyle-based hypertension strategies on established and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in this high-risk population. This data ultimately holds important implications for refining the prescription of antihypertensive medications and exercise to older adults with hypertension.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Aging Systems and Geriatrics Study Section (ASG)
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Zieman, Susan
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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