Blood pressure, new parameters allow older patients to have a slightly higher pressure to be considered normal

 

Blood pressure, new parameters allow older patients to have a slightly higher pressure to be considered normal

Blood pressure tends to rise in older folks, and the business of healthcare has made a practice of having many older folks take blood pressure medications. Now, it appears that a higher number for blood pressure may in fact be normal.

Hypertension Guidelines Can Be Eased, Panel Says

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New guidelines suggest that people over 60 can have a higher blood pressure than previously recommended before starting treatment to lower it. The advice, criticized by some physicians, changes treatment goals that have been in place for more than 30 years.

Until now, people were told to strive for blood pressures below 140/90, with some taking multiple drugs to achieve that goal. But the guidelines committee, which spent five years reviewing evidence, concluded that the goal for people over 60 should be a systolic pressure of less than 150. And the diastolic goal should remain less than 90.

Systolic blood pressure, the top number, indicates the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts. Diastolic, the bottom number, refers to pressure on blood vessels when the heart relaxes between beats.

Essentially, the committee determined that there was not strong evidence for the blood pressure targets that had been guiding treatment, and that there were risks associated with the medications used to bring pressures down.

The committee, composed of 17 academics, was tasked with updating guidelines last re-examined a decade ago. Their report was published online on Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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