New guidelines have been released that say people over 60 can have a higher blood pressure than previously recommended before starting treatment to lower it.
Among the recommendations from the article recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association:
- Adults age 60 and older with high blood pressure should now aim for a target blood pressure under 150/90.
- Adults age 30 to 59 with high blood pressure should now aim for a target blood pressure under 140/90
- Adults with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should now aim for a target blood pressure under 140/90.
Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers written as a ratio.
The top number (systolic), which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts). The bottom number (diastolic), which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).
We asked Geetha Somashekar, MD, an internist with Via Christi Clinic, to comment on the report:
“The new recommendation comes after looking at plenty of evidence. Some physicians are already practicing this, now we have evidence to support it.
Achieving optimal blood pressure less than 140/90 is known to decrease cardiovascular events and stroke.
In my opinion, the new findings do not in any way mean not to try and achieve optimal the blood pressure of less than 140/90, but if a patient doesn’t tolerate medications to help lower their blood pressure, we should not push to lower it further.”