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What the New Blood Pressure Guidelines Mean for Seniors

By , 10:32 pm on

After examining evidence gathered from randomized controlled trails, the Eighth Joint National Committee released new blood pressure guidelines in February 2014. The recommendations suggest that people age 60 and older can have a higher blood pressure before medication is recommended to lower it. The guidelines have stirred up controversy among the medical community, with some experts denouncing the recommendations while others defend them.

At Home Care Assistance of Naples, FL, we believe it’s important to share information like the new blood pressure guidelines with our clients because for many, it can impact their health and overall quality of life. In addition to the following information, your aging loved should consult with their primary care physician for more information about how the new guidelines might specifically impact their lifestyle.

The New Numbers

The new blood pressure guidelines for seniors change the definition of high blood pressure from 140/90 or above to 150/90 or higher. For older adults with diabetes or kidney disease, the numbers have changed from 130/80 to 140/90. The American Society of Hypertension estimates that millions of seniors may be affected by the new guidelines.

The systolic or top number on a blood pressure reading refers to the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts while the diastolic, the bottom number, represents the pressure on vessels while the heart is at rest. The established medical treatment for people with high blood pressure is to take powerful medications, many of which can produce side effects.

Controlling Your Blood Pressure

Both proponents and critics of the new recommendations agree that lowering blood pressure naturally through a healthy lifestyle whenever possible is a healthier option than relying on medication alone. Steps that seniors can take to control blood pressure include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress levels
  • Stopping smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake

Even the most ardent advocates of the new guidelines concede that more evidence-based studies would make it easier for seniors to make decisions about the best treatment course to take. However, making simple lifestyle changes is always a good place to start – doing so can promote longevity, increase mood and can also provide for a higher quality of life overall.

For more information about senior care or health and wellness, reach out to the Naples live-in care specialists at 239-449-4701.