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OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease among elderly people. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: A district of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. METHODS: As a part of the Rotterdam Study information about smoking habits, blood pressure, Quetelet index and serum cholesterol of 7,983 responding persons (78%) (3,105 men and 4,878 women) of 55 years and older was obtained by an interview and physical examination during two visits to a research center. RESULTS: Among men and women there were 29.7% and 16.7% smokers and 60.1% and 25.9% ex-smokers, respectively. Among men the proportion of smokers decreased from 31.0% in the age category 55-59 years to 15.9% in de category > or = 85 years, among women from 28.0% to 2.7%. Systolic blood pressure increased with age in both sexes, while diastolic blood pressure hardly changed. Hypertension (systolic blood pressure 160 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure > or = 95 mmHg at a single measurement and/or use of antihypertensive drugs) occurred in 23.3% of men and 28.0% of women. In men, total serum cholesterol decreased gradually with age, whereas in women there was a slight increase up to the category 70-74 years. No evident change in HDL cholesterol with increasing age was observed in men, but in women a decrease was observed until the same level was reached as in men. Thirty-five per cent of men and 49.5% of women had an elevated level of serum cholesterol (> or = 6.5 mmol/l). The prevalence of obesity (Quetelet index > 25 kg/m2) was about 50% in both men and women but was less in the categories from 75 years onwards. Approximately 80% of men and women had at least one risk factor, while in almost half of them two or more risk factors were found. CONCLUSION: Risk factors for cardiovascular disease are common among elderly people.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd

Publication Date

30/09/1995

Volume

139

Pages

1983 - 1988

Keywords

Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cholesterol, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Hypertension, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Obesity, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Smoking