Drugs used to reduce blood pressure could help to keep elderly people fitter for longer by slowing the physical decline that accompanies age. ACE inhibitors prevent high blood pressure by blocking an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict. The drugs also help to preserve muscle strength in patients suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF).
Researchers said the drugs could also help elderly people who do not suffer from heart problems. In a study of 850 elderly women who had taken part in the study, researchers found that those who continuously used ACE inhibitors had less muscle decline and could walk quicker than women who had used the drugs occasionally or not at all.
If these findings can be confirmed in randomized controlled trials, ACE inhibitors could not only be used as first-line treatment for older adults with hypertension but could also be used to slow physical decline in elderly people. Although the study was limited to women, research had also shown positive results for men.