Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Health Discovery

New Treatment Guidelines for High Blood Pressure

4 steps to take to protect yourself, reduce risk

Doctors face a particular challenge in treating older men and women for high blood pressure because they have more health problems than younger adults and because they're more likely to suffer from medication side effects.

See also: Six foods to fight high blood pressure.

On April 25, an expert panel convened by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) offered a number of concrete recommendations for treatment of people over 65.

African American mature male sitting on an examination bed in a doctor's office, looking at prescription pills.

Blood pressure medication can help you reduce the risk of a heart attack. — — Andersen Ross/Aurora

"We have very good data to show that treatment is beneficial at least up to the age of 80," says cardiologist Jerome Fleg, M.D., of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and co-chair of the ACC-AHA writing committee. "After that the data are sparser although they still suggest a benefit."

Here are some key recommendations to doctors from the consensus document, plus suggestions of steps you can take to lower your blood pressure.

Base a diagnosis of hypertension on three blood pressure measurements taken on at least two office visits.

What you can do: "If your blood pressure was high when you had it taken at a health fair or at a pharmacy, don't just assume it was a bad day and forget about it," says cardiologist Richard Stein, M.D., of New York University School of Medicine, who was not involved with writing the document. "Follow up with a visit to your doctor."

  • Set a systolic/diastolic target of less than 140/90 mm Hg in people 65 to 79 years old. For those 80 and over, aim for a systolic number between 140 and 145 mm Hg.

What you can do: If your numbers are in the red zone for high blood pressure, "allow your doctor to start treatment and don't kid yourself by saying you're fine," says Stein. "Medications that control blood pressure reduce the risk of a heart attack by almost 40 percent and the risk of a stroke by more than 30 percent."

  • To avoid side effects, start with a single medication at the lowest dose and increase it gradually. If the response is inadequate, determine possible reasons the drug isn't working and add a second drug if necessary.


Next: Certain lifestyle changes can make a difference. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points