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Experts Offer New Guidance for Blood Pressure Control in Elderly
Date:4/25/2011

s, 64 percent fewer cases of heart failure, and a 21 percent drop in death from all causes.

Among the recommendations in the clinical guidance statement:

  • Routine monitoring of blood pressure, including taking blood pressure readings while a patient is standing.
  • The appropriate therapeutic targets are blood pressure levels of less than 140/90 mm Hg in people aged 65 to 79, and a systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) between 140 and 145 mm Hg in people 80 and older if tolerated.
  • Use of medications, when appropriate, based on efficacy, tolerability, the presence of other health problems, and cost.
  • When beginning treatment with antihypertensive drugs, doctors should generally begin with the lowest dose and gradually increase the dose as tolerated by the patient.
  • Patients should be encouraged to make lifestyle changes to prevent and treat high blood pressure. These changes include regular physical activity, restricted salt intake, weight control, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.

The statement authors also noted that the high cost of antihypertensive drugs is a factor in low rates of blood pressure control among the elderly, and doctors should discuss this issue with patients.

The statement, which appears on the ACC and AHA websites, will be published in the May 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about high blood pressure.

.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, news release, April 25, 2011


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