Lipid-modifying therapy in the elderly
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and morbidity increases with increasing age, largely as a result of increased lifetime exposure as well as increased prevalence of CVD risk factors. Hospitalization for CVD increases by a factor of over 18× for those aged 85+ years versus those aged <30 years. In spite of this, life expectancy continues to increase, and in Australia for people reaching the age of 65 years, it is now 84 years in men and 87 years in women. The number of people for whom lipid management is potentially indicated therefore increases with aging. This is especially the case for secondary prevention and for people aged 65–75 years for whom there is also evidence of benefit from primary prevention. Many people in this age group are not treated with lipid-lowering drugs, however. Even those with CVD may be suboptimally treated, with one study showing treatment rates to fall from ~60% in those aged <50 years to <15% for those aged 85+ years. Treatment of the most elderly patient groups remains controversial partly from the lack of randomized trial intervention data and partly from the potential for adverse effects of lipid therapy. There are many complex issues involved in the decision to introduce effective lipid-lowering therapy and, unfortunately, in many instances there is not adequate data to make evidence-based decisions regarding management. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of the management of lipid disorders in the elderly and proposes guidelines for management.
Vascular Health and Risk Management
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Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified