ACE Inhibitors May Slow Decline in Physical Function in Elderly Women

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 14 – Treatment with ACE inhibitors appears to reduce the decline in muscle strength and walking speed seen in elderly hypertensive women who are not affected by congestive heart failure, according to a report in The Lancet for March 16.
In a prospective study, 641 hypertensive women, mean age 78.9 years, underwent assessment for maximum isometric strength of the knee extensor muscles several times over a 3-year period.

Dr. Graziano Onder, of Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues report that 61 subjects used ACE inhibitors during the entire 3-year study, whereas 133 "intermittent users" either discontinued or began using ACE inhibitor drugs during the course of the study. Of the remainder, 301 had used other antihypertensive drugs and 146 had used none at all.

The investigators found that over the course of the study muscle strength declined by 1.0 kg among continuous users of ACE inhibitors, compared with 3.0 to 3.9 kg among the other subjects (p = 0.016 to 0.026). Mean reductions in walking speed were -1.7 cm/s among continuous users of ACE inhibitors compared with -13.6 cm/s to -17.9 cm/s in the other groups (p = 0.015 to 0.001).

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