When looking at blood pressure by age, what’s healthy? Learn more about the new blood pressure guidelines and how it affects you.
In previous guidelines, healthy blood pressure readings for those younger than 65 was lower than 140/90 mm Hg, and lower than 150/80 mm Hg for people ages 65+. However, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other health organizations published new guidelines in 2017.
According to the new guidelines, all adults who have a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher are now considered to have high blood pressure. With this change, many adults who were previously considered to be in the healthy range are now diagnosed with high blood pressure.
New Guidelines Explained
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading factor in cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Paul Conlin, an endocrinologist with Harvard-affiliated VA Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains the numbers.
He says they don’t update the guidelines at regular intervals. Instead, they change them whenever they have new, sufficient evidence that shows the old guidelines are not relevant anymore.
“The goal now with the new guidelines is to help people address high blood pressure — and the problems that may accompany it like heart attack and stroke — much earlier,” says Dr. Conlin. By treating systolic blood pressure readings no greater than 120 mm Hg, experts can reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease more efficiently.
Blood Pressure by Age
One of the new changes in the guidelines involves what’s healthy at various age ranges. Unlike previous guidelines, these do not offer different recommendations for those who are younger or older than 65 years old.
The reasoning is because the study they carried out before implementing the guidelines didn’t break down groups into certain age groups. These guidelines also eliminated the prehypertension category, which has been divided into the elevated pressure stage and Stage 1 hypertension.
The current blood pressure guidelines are as follows:
- Normal: less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
- Elevated: 120-129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
- Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
- Stage 2 Hypertension: 140 or higher systolic, or 90 or higher diastolic
- Hypertensive Crisis: higher than 180 systolic, and/or higher than 120 diastolic
If you experience hypertensive crisis, wait 5 minutes and check your blood pressure readings again.
Contact your doctor immediately if they remain in the hypertensive crisis range. Moreover, if you are simultaneously experiencing numbness/weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, back pain, have difficulty speaking, or have changes in vision, call 911.
How the New Guidelines Affect You
People who have already been diagnosed with hypertension are not as affected by these guidelines. They still need to lower their levels by exercising, eating healthy, losing weight, and through medication if necessary.
However, some people may need medicine in cases where medication was not necessary before the changes. Still, Dr. Colin says that patients should first discuss adjusting lifestyle habits with their physicians to lower their numbers.
“Overall, the new guidelines may help people get more involved with monitoring their blood pressure, which can hopefully prevent complications from hypertension,” says Dr. Conlin.
One thing that may help lower blood pressure levels is taking circulation supplements such as L-arginine Plus. As a supplement, L-arginine Plus is especially beneficial for people with hypertension, bad cholesterol levels, healthy vigor, and performance.
It works with the body to naturally increase nitric oxide levels, which help boost circulation and improve energy levels If you want to try a safe and effective blood pressure supplement but are already taking medication, discuss L-arginine Plus with your health provider to see how it can help your blood pressure levels.