If you’re over 60 years old, you may need to focus more on your blood pressure. Here is the best blood pressure target for older adults.
According to current guidelines, adults should aim for a blood pressure reading that’s under 130/80 mm Hg. However, some believe that this may be too aggressive for older people as they are susceptible to medication side effects.
Nevertheless, a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine confirms that intensive blood pressure reduction is effective. “Not only is a lower target safe, it’s also associated with better outcomes in older people,” says Dr. Umberto Campia, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The study included over 8,500 Chinese people with high blood pressure (hypertension), ages 60 to 80. Half of the participants were in the standard treatment group with a systolic BP goal of 130-150 mm Hg. The other half were in the intensive treatment group, with a systolic goal of 110-130 mm Hg.
Better Heart Health
After a year in the study, the standard group had an average systolic BP of 135 mm Hg. Those in the intensive group had an average reading of 127 mm Hg. Moreover, the standard group had a 4.6% incidence of serious cardiovascular problems (stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation). In contrast, the intensive group had a 3.5% incidence of serious problems.
Furthermore, the rates of adverse side effects (dizziness, fainting, headaches, fractures, coughs) were similar for both groups. Still, the intensive group experienced more episodes of abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension).
According to these findings, it is beneficial for older adults to bring their systolic pressure below 130 mm Hg. However, contrary to some people’s beliefs, this cannot be done with a single medication alone. “Even a full dose of a single drug will only lower blood pressure by an average of 5 to 10 points,” says Campia.
By using lower doses of two different medications, patients can more effectively improve their blood pressure numbers. “High blood pressure can result from several different mechanisms, so combining drugs that target different mechanisms typically works better,” adds Campia.
Furthermore, many medication combinations are available in single pill forms, making it easier on the patient. “We have a broad array of medications to control blood pressure, which means that doctors can usually find the right combination that’s safe, effective, and free from side effects,” says Campia.
By working with your doctor, you’ll be able to follow a blood pressure treatment plan suitable for you. Regardless of your health, the goal should be to lower your BP readings until they get to a healthy range.
In addition to medications, you may give your health an extra boost by taking supplements like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients are effective at promoting circulation, blood pressure, and cholesterol health.
Talk with your doctor about L-arginine Plus to find out if you can add it to your routine to support your blood pressure health.