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What’s the best blood pressure target for older adults?
For people over 60, intensive blood pressure lowering may prevent more heart problems than standard therapy.
Current guidelines from the nation’s leading heart organizations say adults should aim for a blood pressure reading under 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). However, some doctors believe that target might be too aggressive for older people, who may be more prone to side effects from blood pressure drugs, such as dizziness and falls.
Now, a new study confirms the effectiveness of intensive blood pressure reduction in people over 60. "Not only is a lower target safe, it’s also associated with better outcomes in older people," says Dr. Umberto Campia, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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Controlling Your Blood Pressure
An alarming one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Known medically as hypertension, many people don't even know they have it, because high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning signs. But when elevated blood pressure is accompanied by abnormal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to your arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially. Fortunately, high blood pressure is easy to detect and treat. In the Special Health Report, Controlling Your Blood Pressure, find out how to keep blood pressure in a healthy range simply by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, increasing activity, and eating more healthfully.
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