Hypertension and sarcopenia are commonly seen in older adults. The renin-angiotensin system and the therapeutic use of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have been on the agenda of sarcopenia in different perspectives. Our aim was to explore the frequency of sarcopenia in patients with hypertension and to investigate the association between the use of ACE inhibitors and sarcopenia.
A total of 272 community dwelling adults were recruited. Anterior thigh muscle thickness was measured by ultrasound. Handgrip strength, gait speed and chair stand test were evaluated. Low muscle mass was diagnosed in the presence of low sonographic thigh adjustment ratio (STAR) values and sarcopenia was diagnosed if low STAR values were coupled with low functional tests.
136 subjects (50.0%) had no comorbid disease; 102 (37.5%) had one, 21 (7.7%) had two, nine (3.3%) had three and four (1.5%) had four comorbid diseases. Both low muscle mass (41.9% vs. 13.2%) and sarcopenia (32.2% vs. 7.8%) were more commonly seen in hypertensive when compared to normotensive older adults. Subgroup analysis of older adults with hypertension revealed that sarcopenia was less prevalent (p=0.003) in patients using ACE inhibitors (8.7%) than those using angiotensin receptor blockers (48.7%) and other antihypertensive drugs (46.4%). After binary logistic regression analyses; only the presence of hypertension seemed to independently predict the development of sarcopenia in older adults [OR=6.5 (95% CI: 2.4-17.8, p<0.001)].
Sarcopenia is highly prevalent in hypertensive older adults. Among many antihypertensive medications, ACE inhibitors seem to have favorable effects on both disorders.
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