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Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to impaired blood pressure control in the elderly

February 17, 2014

A new study from France reports that women severely deficient in vitamin D may be more likely to have diastolic orthostatic hypotension than women with higher levels.

The observational study analyzed the blood vitamin D concentrations of 329 women aged 80 or older and documented cases of diastolic orthostatic hypotension (1). The study results showed that around 24% of the women were severely vitamin D deficient (levels less than 10 ng/ml). Those women were more likely to have diastolic orthostatic hypotension than women with higher vitamin D levels. For each 10 ng/ml increase in vitamin D there was a 0.7 mmHg less drop in diastolic blood pressure.

The researchers commented that the increased risk of falls for individuals with vitamin D deficiency (obser- ved in earlier studies) could also result from orthostatic hypotension and the loss of the adaptive response of blood pressure to positional change such as standing up. Vitamin D is of interest in orthostatic hypotension because of its suggested role in the cardiovascular system (2). The vitamin has been shown to help manage high blood pressure and reduce hardening of the arteries.

Orthostatic hypotension is a rapid decline in blood pressure that occurs when standing up. It is caused by blood pooling in the lower areas of the body when a person gets to their feet. It is most common in the oldest-old (defined as 80 years of age or older) with a prevalence of 30% in that age group compared to less than 5% in those younger than 65 years old. Symptoms can include dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or even fainting.

References

  1. Annweiler C. et al. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with orthostatic hypotension in oldest-old women. J Intern Med. Published online January 2014.
  2. Brøndum-Jacobsen P. et al. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease, Myocardial Infarction, and Early Death – Population-Based Study and Meta-Analyses of 18 and 17 Studies. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2012; 32:2794-2802.