Lowering blood pressure among elderly patients could cut death rates by a fifth and heart problems by a third, a new study has shown.
A trial coordinated by a team from Imperial College London showed that giving over-80s medication to decrease blood pressure reduced the mortality rate by 21% and heart problems by 34%.
The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show it also reduced fatal strokes by 39% and heart failure by 64%.
Professor Christopher Bulpitt, from Imperial College, said: "Before our study, doctors were unsure about whether very elderly people with high blood pressure could see the same benefits from treatment to lower their blood pressure as those we see in younger people.
"Our results clearly show that many patients aged 80 and over could benefit greatly from treatment. Populations are living longer and we have growing numbers of people living well into their 80s and beyond, so this is good news."
The six-year trial, involving 3,845 patients, is the largest ever to look at the effects of lowering blood pressure in the over-80s.