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Healthy Blood Pressure Critical Regardless Of Age

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In the last year, there has been a great array of information regarding blood pressure and disease prevention. While everyone agrees that managing high blood pressure and lifelong health go hand in hand, there is some debate on exactly what range is ideal. This is especially true with advancing age.

Recently, a variety of research has shown that what was previously called a normal blood pressure may actually be high. A "high normal" blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. This "high normal" blood pressure is associated with a systolic (top) measurement between 135 and 140 and a diastolic (bottom) measurement greater than 85. Most physicians pay more attention to the systolic rather than the diastolic blood pressure, as an elevation of the systolic blood pressure is a far more important risk factor for disease.

However, a closer look at the research reveals that most of the studies that examine the "high normal" blood pressure range have been funded by drug companies. Targeting a much lower blood pressure requires more medications and hence more profit for the companies that produce them. While the pharmaceutical-funded studies may be 100 percent legitimate, it is still an important factor to note.

Today, experts recommend therapy aimed at maintaining a systolic blood pressure below 120 and a diastolic below 80. While this may be ideal for younger individuals, it may not be appropriate for older patients. In an elegant research study presented at the recent American Geriatric Society meeting, Gina Fujikami, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Hawaii examined the effect of blood pressure on the risk of memory loss. Following 3,734 Japanese-American men who have participated in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, Fujikami monitored blood pressure and the development of memory loss over the past 15 years in these men who, at the study's commencement in 1990, ranged in age from 71 to 93.

Fujikami's research clearly showed a two-fold higher incidence of Alzheimer's disease (but not other causes of memory loss) in those individuals whose blood pressures were consistently below 120 systolic.

In addition, research done in older people has shown that a diastolic blood pressure below 60 increases the risk of a heart attack and heart failure.

If you are 70 or older, it is vitally important that you maintain a healthy blood pressure range, neither too low nor too high. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine provides very useful additional information. This research showed that for healthy adults over the age of 80, lowering the blood pressure from an average of 175 systolic to about 150 systolic resulted in a 30 percent or more reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In addition, this blood pressure range was also associated with a 64 percent reduction in deaths from heart failure, a leading cause of death in those over the age of 80.

From all this information and much more, here are my recommendations for treating high blood pressure: For anyone under the age of 70, a systolic blood pressure consistently above 135 is too high. Treatment should aim to achieve a systolic blood pressure that is preferably below 120, but definitely below 135. The diastolic should be around 80 but never below 60.

If you are over the age of 70, a target blood pressure should be 130 systolic and 80 diastolic. Beyond age 80, the systolic should be between 140 and 150 with a diastolic of 80. It is probably safe to say that beyond age 80, using medications to treat a person whose blood pressure is below 145 systolic may not be necessary.

Regardless of age, everyone should measure blood pressure at least four times annually. If your blood pressure is consistently elevated, treatment is essential. Any treatment plan to lower blood pressure should first begin with exercise and diet and follow with medications if lifestyle changes are not sufficient. If you are being treated, measure and record your blood pressure frequently and take the values to your physician at each visit. Discuss the levels and make sure your treatment is ideal — the benefits are clearly lifesaving.

Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. More information is available at www.drdavidhealth.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.


Comments

15 Comments | Post Comment
Very unique and precise analyses! Very helpful.

But can I ask a question? I am 74, very active and have been going healthy for over 10 years. I had had no chronic disease until early 2010: Hypertension. I have been on medication and most of the time my BP is below 120 for systolic and below 80 for diastolic.BUT, it tends to spike occasionally for no reason at all (150/95, once every few weeks or every few days, lasting for a few minutes to a few hours). All the possible tests I had yielded only good results (thyroid, cholesteral, heart, arteries,etc.) What exactly is wrong with me or are occasional spikes normal?

Thanks a lot beforehand

~ Miaomiao138
Comment: #1
Posted by: miaomiao138
Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:02 AM
Sorry, I should have added this: All the spikes happen in the late afternoon, without warning & nothing to do with emotional upheavals or issues.

~ MiaoMiao138
Comment: #2
Posted by: miaomiao138
Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:21 AM
Sorry, I should have added this: all the spikes happen in the late afternoon, without warning & having nothing to do with emotional upheavals or issues.

~ Miaomiao138
Comment: #3
Posted by: miaomiao138
Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:24 AM
Sorry, I should have added this: all the spikes happen in the late afternoon, without warning & having nothing to do with emotional upheavals or issues.

~ Miaomiao138
Comment: #4
Posted by: miaomiao138
Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:26 AM
Hi Doctor - I am 74 years a By-pass pacient my BP is unregilarup and down in the morning it is 135/80 SOMETIME 150/90
AND IN THE EVENING 154/80 0r 135/90.
I was taking NORVASC - 10mg for 10 to 15 years from 2012 my GP, reduced to 5mg. after 6 months he stoped it
completely ! Now my BP is up and down. Please advice me. I am really worried.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Sylvester Joseph
Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:46 AM
Re: miaomiao138
Hi doctor my question is the same as miaomiao 138 but i am 72 years old, thanks Roddy
Comment: #6
Posted by: Roddy
Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:23 AM
Hi Doctor
my question is my blood pressure is 170/110 and i do,not hv any side effect bu some time I hv pain back of my neck what should i do recently I AM CHANGING MY LIFE Style and diet but it,,s gonna take time to lower my blood pressure,I am really worried thanks.
Comment: #7
Posted by: bali
Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:08 PM
good informatiom to old people
Comment: #8
Posted by: mrajagopal
Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:04 AM
My BP is about 170.80 I am aged 73 and known diabetic. Do you advise some medicine for reducing the BP?
Comment: #9
Posted by: Deshmukh
Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:35 AM
I am almost 82. My BP is 151/72 . . I am diabetic. Is this a good range
Comment: #10
Posted by: Nad
Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:15 PM
i am a male aged 80. i have been monitoring my heart rate for the past 4 months . for the past year or so i have been experiencing lightheadedness felt sort of drunk etc. have gone to an end md cat scans normal. been tested for allergies tests normal. had test for ear problems normal. went to eye doctor was told to eyes were dry and prescribed meeds finally went to a chiro gave me tests and was told i had low blood pressure which caused by dizziness when i suddenly arise from the sitting position. i am currently on systolic 5 mg and lipitor 40 mg my bp yesterday was132/69 pulse 60 eat 10 am nighttime bp 137/77 bedtime. today bp132/69 56 pulse and bp at this time is 111/70 pulse 59. do i have a serious helalth problem. am very woried. go to gym 4 times per week 30 min cardio, 30 min weights. please advise.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Joseph Trovato
Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:42 PM
Sir
I Mr P B Tavari age 46, my BP Level was 110/90,
advise is it normal
Thanking you
yours truly
Paramesh
Comment: #12
Posted by: parameshwar
Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:22 PM
hi doctor I have high blood pressure for two weeks in the month my blood pressure is normal lower than 120-60 then it suddenly spikes and it takes days sometimes weeks for it to go back down I have had all sort of test every thing comes back normal what do you think is happening I really get worried about this thank you for your help.
Comment: #13
Posted by: tena goins
Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:17 AM
Dear Dr.I am running in 80th year.For the last about 8 months,due to COPD my airways have been severely blocked,due to which,I feel trouble in breathing even on walking about 100 meter.For this I am using Foracort 200 inhaler four puffs a day and Tiova inhaler 2 puffs a day.These inhalers are of Cipla Ltd.For the last about 10days my BP happens to be about 160/90 and I feel headache daily for all the time.For BP I am taking one tablet of Telvas 40 and one tablet of Amlodipine Besilate tablet daily. I shall be thakful to you,if you very kindly suggest me in this regard.
With regards.
SURENDRA SAHAI SAXENA
Comment: #14
Posted by: Surendra Sahai Saxena
Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:29 AM
Dear Doctor, I have just checked my blood pressure at 5pm and it showed 152/70. I am nearly 71 years old. Could you let me know if this would be considered normal. Many thanks. Monday 20th October 2014
Comment: #15
Posted by: michael mcdonagh
Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:39 PM
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