- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Up to 70% of adults ages 65 and older have high blood pressure (hypertension). This is diagnosed when your systolic pressure (the top number on a blood pressure reading) of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher or a diastolic pressure (the bottom number) of 80 mm Hg or higher.
Common drug treatments include calcium-channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), and diuretics, given either individually or in combination. Calcium-channel blockers help blood vessels relax, ACE inhibitors and ARBs block a key hormone pathway involved in raising blood pressure, and diuretics eliminate excess sodium and water in the body. Adopting healthy habits that help lower high blood pressure is also an important part of the treatment strategy — like losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing salt in your diet, and being more active.
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About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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