Average blood pressure readings for both men and women vary and often increase with age.
What causes hypertension in people over age 60?
- Age: Blood pressure increases with age, as more pressure is exerted on the artery walls.
- Obesity: Overweight and obese people tend to be at increased risk of hypertension.
- Salt intake: Consumption of high amounts of sodium is a risk factor for hypertension.
- Sedentary lifestyle: As people get older, their levels of daily physical activity may reduce and lead to a greater risk of hypertension.
- Alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of hypertension.
How can hypertension be prevented?
Exercise is undeniably the best way to reduce the risk of hypertension. Recommendations regarding physical activity according to the World Health Organization are as follows:
- Adults under age 65:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week
- 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week
- Equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity activity
- Adults age 65 and older: In addition to following the recommendations for the age group of 18-65, people in this age group with poor mobility can engage in exercises designed to improve balance 3 or more days a week.
Other ways to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure include:
How is hypertension managed in people over 60?
Classes of drugs that are used in the treatment of hypertension include:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: Prevent angiotensin l from converting to angiotensin ll (which increases blood pressure), thereby controlling blood pressure. Examples include captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril.
- Calcium channel blockers: Act on the heart muscles and blood vessels and reduce contractility, thereby reducing blood pressure. Examples include nifedipine, amlodipine, and diltiazem.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers: Block the receptors of angiotensin ll and control the vasoconstrictive nature of angiotensin ll. Examples include losartan, valsartan, and olmesartan.
- Diuretics (water pills): Flush excess sodium chloride from the body and are mostly used in combination with other drugs. Examples include thiazide diuretics, indapamide, etc.
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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