Older people with hypertension had somewhat better control of their cardiometabolic risks when they maintained an active lifestyle, according to a longitudinal study from Korea.

Uncontrolled hypertension was less likely in folks who stayed physically active from 2002 to 2013 compared with peers who were generally inactive the whole time (adjusted HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.800-0.948).

People who transitioned from an inactive to an active lifestyle (adjusted HR 0.946, 95% CI 0.880-1.017) or vice versa (adjusted HR 0.952, 95% CI 0.877-1.033) over time had no significant reduction nor gain in blood pressure (BP) control compared with the totally inactive group, however, according to the presentation by Jeong-Ah Ahn, PhD, RN, of Ajou University in Suwon, Korea, at the virtual Hypertension conference hosted by the American Heart Association.

As for uncontrolled diabetes, the transition from inactivity to activity was associated with decreased risk compared with total inactivity (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.888-0.999), whereas no impact was seen among those who went from activity to inactivity or remained active.

Ahn found no significant link between physical activity and BMI or total cholesterol.

“Absence of effects on diabetes, BMI and cholesterol is not evidence of absence of benefits on these cardiometabolic parameters,” maintained Rajiv Agarwal, MBBS, of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

“Regular exercise has a meaningful effect on BP control, prevention of diabetes, and lowering of cholesterol. Although the effects are small, the population impact of regular exercise is substantial,” he told MedPage Today.

“It is considered that the continuous performance of physical activity can significantly lower the long-term cardiometabolic risks in older adults,” Ahn concluded. “Healthcare providers should be aware of the importance of the physical activity of older adults and encourage them to perform and maintain it steadily for better long-term cardiometabolic outcomes.”

The observational study drew upon records from Korea’s Elderly Cohort Database of National Health Insurance Service and included 10,588 community-dwelling older adults with hypertension. Average age was 64.2 years.

Patients were divided into groups based on self-reported changes in physical activity from 2002 to 2013: Group 1 (totally inactive; n=4,032), Group 2 (inactive to active; n=2,697), Group 3 (active to inactive; n=1,919), and Group 4 (persistently active; n=1,940).

There were marked differences in baseline characteristics among patients.

All groups showed a steady drop in uncontrolled BP and glucose over the years.

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