In late 2017, new guidelines for blood pressure were released from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. This has updated a report from 2003.
With this new report, the percentage of Americans with high blood pressure jumped from 32 to 46 percent. The new definition will mostly affect younger Americans, tripling the numbers of men and doubling them for women under the age of 45.
Blood pressure normally rises with age and body size. In the United States, approximately 65% of people aged 60 and older have high blood pressure.
The report has redefined high blood pressure as a reading of 130/80. The previous definition was 140/90.
Blood pressure is measured at two points: When the heart beats (systolic pressure) and when the heart rests between beats (diastolic).
Abnormal is defined as:
- Prehypertension: 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
- High stage 1: 140-159 systolic or 90-99 diastolic
- High stage 2: 160 or higher systolic or 100 or higher diastolic
The biggest concern with the new guidelines is that more people have the potential to be put on medication. It also raises concerns that otherwise healthy people are now considered to have high blood pressure.
Along with medications come side effects. Most importantly for seniors is dizziness that can result in dangerous falls.
In most cases, medication should be the last option. The most important thing that people can do is change their lifestyle and diet. Exercise more, take in less sodium and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Early treatment and detection are key. Hypertension can usually be treated with lifestyle change and diet. Blood pressure should also be measured over time to get a consistent number.
High blood pressure damages blood vessels and can cause organ damage such as heart and kidney failure as well as strokes.
How Can High Blood Pressure be Treated for the Elderly?
- Follow a heart-healthy diet. This includes cutting down on salt, eating more fruits and vegetables and eating low fat dairy products
- Losing excess weight and maintaining an optimum weight
- Regular physical activity
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol intake
How Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah can help: We are here to assist you with taking care of a family member with any condition that needs monitoring. Along with our companionship services, we also offer meal prep and planning. Seniors with health issues may also no longer feel comfortable to drive. We are happy to assist seniors with transportation and doctors appointments.
Any caregiver who enters your home goes through our process of background checks, drug testing, interviews, and references. Golden Heart Senior Care provides superior companionship care. Reference our companionship care page to learn more. We are also licensed and bonded. Please refer to our Senior Advocacy page for more information. If you would like Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah to advocate for you and your loved one, please call us at (435) 669-3704.