Blood pressure levels are quite high in the United States, with one in three people suffering from it. Of those who have it, only half of them have it under control. People over 60 have twice the amount of people with hypertension compared to the rest of the population, so blood pressure guidelines have changed for seniors.
Blood Pressure Guidelines Have Changed
As of a few days ago, new blood pressure guidelines have changed for people 60 and older. The new guidelines state that people with high blood pressure who also have a history of heart attacks and strokes should aim to lower their systolic blood pressure to 140.
People over 60 without those risk factors should aim to lower their systolic level to 150. However, these new numbers are of some debate because 140 and 150 still mean high blood pressure.
For some, these new guidelines are a bit controversial, since some doctors feel that patients need to lower their blood pressure further.
Dr. Devan Kansagara, a co-leader on an analysis of previous studies and internist at the VA Portland Health Care System, stated, “It’s about weighing the harms and the benefits.”
Kansagara gave that her reasoning to lower blood pressure to only 140 or 150 is because lowering it any more than that doesn’t necessarily change their quality of life or death rate.
She also said that more research is required to provide the correct personalized treatment for those with high blood pressure.
One of the concerns for lowering blood pressure too much with medications is that increased medication can lead to an increase of risks like abnormal kidney function or passing out.
As previously stated, people over 60 have twice the risk of having hypertension compared to the rest of the population. That’s why the American Heart Association (AHA) is sticking to its recommendation to take action once seniors’ blood pressure hits 140.
The AHA is working on their own review of recommendations, which may be ready this summer. They are taking into account various studies to see if their recommendations will change in the future.
“We still have something like 80 million people (in the US) that are still hypertensive,” said AHA President Steven Houser. He further added that each patient requires a different solution and had different goals to recover.
AAFP president Dr. John Meigs agreed that there needs to be some flexibility since the blood pressure guidelines have changed. He pointed out that everyone has different needs and that needs to be taken into consideration when dealing with hypertension.
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