Symptoms reported by elderly patients with isolated systolic hypertension: baseline data from the SYST-EUR trial. Systolic Hypertension in Europe
Age and Ageing
Objectives: to determine the symptomatic well-being of elderly persons with isolated systolic hypertension. Design and setting: well-being determined during the placebo run-in period prior to entry to the Systolic Hypertension in Europe (SYST-EUR) trial. Subjects: 641 people, 60 years or older with an average sitting blood pressure of 173/86 mmHg. Outcome measures: 33 symptomatic complaints determined by a standard interview. Results: the 437 women complained of 25% of the symptoms and the 204
... en 21% (P < 0.001). A markedly higher prevalence was observed in women compared with men for: pain in the joints of the hands (35% of women complained of this against 22% of men); 'racing heart' (33% against 17%); dry eyes (16% against 6%); blurring of vision (35% against 23%); cramps in the legs (43% against 31%); and a sore throat (15% against 7%). Nocturia was the most frequent complaint (68% in both sexes). Eight symptoms increased with age and one (rash) tended to decline. With increasing systolic pressure women also reported more headaches, unsteadiness, blurring of vision, irregular heart beat and 'racing heart' but, of these, only headaches increased with diastolic pressure. These observations were made after adjusting for age, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI) and were not observed in men. Higher blood sugars were associated with mouth ulcers, 'racing heart', blurring of vision and cramps in the legs. A higher BMI was associated with six symptoms, and a lower age of leaving education with eight. In men, alcohol consumption was related to 'racing heart', and smoking to wheezing and having a dry cough. Conclusions: a high level of complaint was associated with female gender, increasing age, blood sugar and BMI and a low age of leaving education.