High Blood Pressure In Older People
The target blood pressure reading for the over-80s is below 150/90 mmHg when it’s measured in the clinic or surgery, and below 145/85 mmHg for home readings.
While there are definite benefits from taking medicines to reduce blood pressure if you’re under the age of 80, it’s less clear it’s useful if you’re over 80.
It’s now thought that if you reach 80 while you’re taking medicine for high blood pressure, it’s fine to continue treatment provided it’s still helping you and is not causing side effects.
If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure and you’re aged over 80, your doctor will also consider your other health risk factors when deciding whether to give you treatment for the high blood pressure.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Increase The Number Of Fruits And Vegetables
This is a great way to get more natural food into your diet. DASH diet recommends four to five serving of fruit and four to five serving of vegetables, with a serving size being half a cup. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium and magnesium, making them great sources for blood pressure control. You can start by making smaller changes to your diet plan such as choosing to eat fruit instead of an unhealthy snack.
Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.
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Home Blood Pressure Testing
Blood pressure tests can also be carried out at home using your own blood pressure monitor.
Like 24-hour or ambulatory monitoring, this can give a better reflection of your blood pressure.
It can also allow you to monitor your condition more easily in the long term.
You can buy a variety of low-cost monitors so you can test your blood pressure at home or while you’re out and about.
Measure your blood pressure twice a day, ideally in the morning and the evening, while you’re sitting down.
Each time take 2 readings, 1 minute apart. Continue to measure your blood pressure twice a day for 7 days.
Your doctor or nurse will use this information to work out your average blood pressure.
It’s important to make sure you use equipment that’s been properly tested.
The British Hypertension Society has information about validated blood pressure monitors that are available to buy.
Treatments For High Or Low Blood Pressure
While high blood pressure can be serious, the good news is that its usually manageable through medication or lifestyle changes, or both. Some common lifestyle recommendations to help keep your pressure in check include:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly at least 90 minutes per week or more.
- Lower the amount of sodium in your diet.
- Dont drink alcohol excessively.
- Keep a healthy weight.
Immediate symptoms of low blood pressure can sometimes be eased simply by sitting or lying down. It can also help to elevate your feet above the level of your heart. If your low blood pressure does not cause any significant impacts in your daily life, you may not require further treatment.
Long-term treatment for hypotension can vary depending on your symptoms and how low your numbers are. Your doctor may focus on dealing with any underlying health conditions causing your low blood pressure.
They may decide to administer intravenous fluids to provide your body with nutrients. Wearing compression socks on your calves and thighs may help improve the blood flow from the veins in your legs to your heart.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it typically has no symptoms. In fact, most people dont even realize they have hypertension until their blood pressure is monitored.
Symptoms dont develop until the numbers get very high and organs get damaged, often irreversibly, says Dr. Desai.
If you have severe hypertension, you might notice the below symptoms, some of which were reported by patients in a study in the British Journal of General PracticeGoodhart A. Hypertension from the patients perspective. British Journal of General Practice. 2016 66:570. :
So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
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The Basics Of Blood Pressure
A blood pressure reading is made up of two numbers expressed as a fraction. The top number, or systolic pressure, measures how much pressure is in the arteries when the heart contracts. The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, measures the blood pressure between beats.
When your heart pumps, all that blood rushes and fills your arteries, Baker said. Its just like plumbing: if youre pumping more water into the system, the pressure inside the plumbing goes up. Thats your systolic reading. When the heart relaxes and fills, the reading falls and you get the lower number, or your diastolic reading.
What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure
If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes dont work to lower your blood pressure, your healthcare provider prescribe hypertension medications. Your provider will take into account these drugs effect on other conditions you may have, such as heart or kidney disease, and other drugs youre taking.
You might need to take hypertension medicine from now on. Be sure to follow your providers dosing directions exactly.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/20/2020.
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How Can I Be More Active
- Check first with your healthcare provider before increasing your physical activity. Ask your provider what type and amount of exercise is right for you.
- Choose aerobic activities such as walking, biking or swimming.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually. Aim for a regular routine of activity 5 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.
Whats Considered High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings have two numbers. The top one is your systolic number . The bottom one is your diastolic number . The two numbers together show whether your blood pressure is healthy or unhealthy. A high systolic or diastolic can count as high blood pressure. But healthy numbers may also be different for adults, children, and pregnant women.
Normal Blood Pressure Range
A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .
Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .
Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.
Measuring Ambulatory Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can also be diagnosed through a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will get you to wear the device for a full day. The device measures blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes and gives the doctor an average of your blood pressures during the day and while you are sleeping. These devices are not available everywhere and can be uncomfortable to wear.
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Can High Diastolic Pressure Cause Pain
That chronic pain can actually increase a persons blood pressure. Although the mechanism involved is extremely complex it can be distilled down to this: chronic pain relentlessly stimulates that nerves responsible for regulating blood pressure, causing it to rise.
What Are The Complications Of Uncontrolled Hypertension
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from lack of oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, which occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to other vital body organs.
- Irregular heart beat which can lead to a sudden death.
What Medications Are Used To Treat High Blood Pressure
Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered first line when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line drug pressure lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels dont narrow. Examples: lisinopril , enalapril , captopril .
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: metoprolol , valsartan , losartan .
- Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine , nifedipine , diltiazem .
- Diuretics flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide.
Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
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What Numbers Are Considered High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure above 140 mm Hg systolic and/or 90 mm Hg diastolic is considered hypertensive. There are 2 stages of hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension is systolic blood pressure between 140 to 159 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure 90 to 99 mm Hg. Stage 2 hypertension is blood pressure greater than 160 mm Hg systolic and/or 100 mm Hg diastolic. When systolic and diastolic pressures fall into different categories, your healthcare professional should select the higher category to classify your blood pressure. For example, 160/80 mm Hg would be considered stage 2 hypertension.
If you are hypertensive and have begun receiving initial medication therapy, you will probably need to return for follow-up and adjustment of medications once a month until your blood pressure goal is reached. More frequent visits may be necessary for those with stage 2 hypertension.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Cardiology : What Does Blood Pressure Really Mean
We have all had our blood pressure taken at a regular doctor visit however most of us dont truly understand why those numbers are so important. Having high blood pressure is a big health concern, but what does it all really mean?
What is blood pressure?
In the most basic terms, when your heart beats, it pumps blood throughout your body, supplying it with the oxygen and energy it needs. As your blood moves, it pushes against the sides of your blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is what is known as blood pressure.
When you have your blood pressure reading it consists of two numbers, presented as one number over the other, like a fraction. The first or top number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. The second or bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats. The numeric difference between your systolic and diastolic blood pressure is called your pulse pressure. For example, the pulse pressure reading for a person whose blood pressure is 120/80, would be 40. Along with blood pressure, pulse pressure can also provide insight into your heart health. In some cases a low pulse pressure may indicate poor heart function, while a higher pulse pressure may reflect leaky heart valves, often as a result of age-related losses in aortic elasticity.
What is a healthy blood pressure?
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Medicines For High Blood Pressure
Several types of medicine can be used to help control high blood pressure.
Many people need to take a combination of different medicines.
- if you’re under 55 years of age you’ll usually be offered an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-2 receptor blocker
- if you’re aged 55 or older, or you’re any age and of African or Caribbean origin you’ll usually be offered a calcium channel blocker
You may need to take blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. But your doctor might be able to reduce or stop your treatment if your blood pressure stays under control for several years.
It’s really important to take your medicine as directed. If you miss doses, it will not work as well.
The medicine will not necessarily make you feel any different, but this does not mean it’s not working.
Medicines used to treat high blood pressure can have side effects, but most people do not get any.
If you do get side effects, do not stop taking your medicine. Talk to your doctor, who may advise changing your medicine.
High Blood Pressure In Adults
Healthy blood pressure in adults is a reading below 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. Blood pressure between 120 to 129 systolic and under 80 diastolic is considered elevated. Elevated blood pressure means you have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure later on. Your doctor may suggest eating less salt, eating a heart healthy diet, or living a more active lifestyle.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure By Age
Blood pressure ranges for adults are:
- High: Systolic of 130 or above and/or diastolic of 80 or above
- High Blood Pressure Stage 1: Systolic of 130-139 or diastolic of 80-89
- High Blood Pressure Stage 2: Systolic of 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher
The normal Blood Pressure Ranges for Adults Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
|Higher than 120|
The normal blood pressure for adolescents 13 years or older is less than 120/80 mmHg.
In younger children, the normal range for blood pressure is determined by the child’s sex, age, and height. The normal range is expressed as a percentile, similar to charts used to track children’s growth.
Blood pressure is separated into three categories based upon the child’s blood pressure percentile:
The normal blood pressure range for Children Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
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