Is High Blood Pressure Okay For Some People?

A doctor's hand holding the bulb of a blood pressure gaugeIf you’re older than age 60 and have high blood pressure, you might want to check with your doctor about a recent update for managing the condition. That’s because according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a committee of experts determined it’s OK for older folks to have a higher blood pressure reading.

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The group of 17 hypertension experts said they now believe that the initial, systolic component of a blood pressure (BP) reading—the top number—can be about 10 points higher than was previously considered the gold standard.

In the past, most doctors aimed to keep a patient’s blood pressure below 140 for the systolic reading and 90 for the diastolic—the bottom number. But after combing through mountains of data from the past 30 years, experts found that the systolic number can actually be higher, especially for older folks who can remain healthy with a 150/90 reading.

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Experts predicted the guidelines will affect millions of people currently being treated for high blood pressure who may now be able to go off their medications. (Hypertension is usually controlled by combining a healthy diet with medication to ward off strokes, heart attack, kidney failure and death if the illness is left untreated.)

But the experts stressed that these guidelines only apply to people 60 and older. “There is insufficient evidence in hypertensive persons younger than 60 years for a systolic goal, or in those younger than 30 years for a diastolic goal,” experts stated in the report. “The panel [still] recommends a BP of less than 140/90 for those groups.”

Studies show 9 out of 10 African Americans with hypertension develop early heart disease.

 

Visit the BlackDoctor.org High Blood Pressure center for more articles and tips. 

Senior Winter Tips

A senior couple embracing, wearing winter clothingWhen our weather changes, everyone is worried about “winter dangers” such as broken bones from falls on ice, breathing problems caused by cold air, hypothermia and frostbite. The winter chill can lower the temperature inside the body and that can be deadly if not treated quickly.

Cold weather can be particularly risky for older people.

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It is very important for a senior to know his/her surroundings and prepare for the winter months. Changes in the older adult that accompany aging make it harder for them to know when they are getting cold. It is also harder for the body to warm itself. So it is very important for older adults to pay attention to the weather and how cold it is going to get.

Some general safety recommendations from the American Geriatric Society are:

1. Stay indoors when it’s very cold outside, especially if it’s also very windy; and keep indoor temperatures at about 65 degrees or above

2. If you have to go outside, don’t stay out in the cold or the wind for very long

3. Wear two or three thinner layers of loose-fitting clothing. (They are warmer than a single layer of thick clothing.) Always wear: a hat, gloves or mittens (mittens are warmer), a coat and boots, a scarf to cover your mouth and nose and protect your lungs from very cold air.

For more helpful winter tips, visit Elev8.