High blood pressure: a change in treatment could save your life 32



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High blood pressure, or hypertension, has always been a huge concern in the Starts at 60 community. As the biggest cause of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure as we get older, few things are more vital to monitor and control.

Now a new study has revealed that our current treatments could be significantly improved. In fact, we may need to alter our very idea of what counts as “healthy blood pressure”.

With our current understanding of blood pressure, hypertension becomes a concern once the pressure level passes 140/90 (“140 over 90”).

However, a large trial by the National Institutes of Health found that we may have this wrong. We should be aiming for something much lower.

The study’s 9,000 patients were into two groups over several years. One group received an average of two medications to achieve the usual recommended blood pressure (140).

The second group, on the other hand, received three medications, bringing their level down to a much lower 120. This second group fared far better, with health risks reducing significantly.

Those with lower blood pressure goals found themselves with heart attack risks reduced by almost a third and risk of death reduced by almost a quarter.

“The findings were surprising”, said Dr. William Haley from the Mayo Clinic. “I think they were surprising to the folks that put the trial together”.

“Compared to the usual goal blood pressure that’s been traditional, that a goal blood pressure of 120 was found to be associated with much lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke and significant lowered risk of death”, he said.

What does this mean for our future health?

“For most people, they may end up taking an additional medication to get their blood pressure lower, if their doctor decides this is best for them”.

The patients will continue to be monitored. It is expected that these findings will ultimately form the basis of new guidelines to replace current recommendations.

However, it’s worth noting that every person’s situation is unique. If you believe your blood pressure goals should be lowered, talk to your doctor first to make sure this new goal is appropriate for your current health needs.

Have you dealt with hypertension or blood pressure issues? Are you receiving treatment? Does this news make you rethink your current goals?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure as soon as I reached menopause, which according to my dr is common. I have been on tablets for about 10 yrs but recently it has started going up again. I am now on higher dosage of medication but I blame it on work and the pressure to keep going so I can retire with a modest super. Stress is what I believe is the cause of mine and I don’t know how to fix this!

    5 REPLY
    • Try changing your diet to Low Carb High Fat, and avoid ALL grains. You will be pleasantly surprised at the result, and you will be rid of the medication. 🙂

    • Retire and live to enjoy the rewards of years of hard work. No amount of extra money is worth the stress

    • Sue! I had to retire early due to my body being stressed and getting chest pain! My head was absolutely fine and I loved my job. However after 10-15 years of stress on my body it told me it had had enough and I was so sad about retiring. I was 67. I don’t think we realise how much mental stress affects us physically until it is quite serious! Believe me it is far better to retire on less money and live than the alternative!! Good luck in whatever you decide.

  2. Cut out SALT!

    3 REPLY
    • Oh hard, I eat muesli for breakfast 2 or 3 times a week, have cut out a lot of sugar and rarely add salt. We are told to not eat fat, so its very confusing, but I’ll try.

      1 REPLY
      • Follow your doctors guidance on diet and exercise to keep you blood pressure in check. Do not start a high fat diet because someone on Facebook suggested it

  3. I take two blood pressure tablets and just checked my BP: 132/73. I’ll discuss with my doctor next time I visit.

  4. The goal posts keep changing. I think exercise is very important.

    1 REPLY
    • Agree Debbie. Since retiring and no longer being in a sedentary job, plus doing more exercise, my blood pressure has dropped and I am on a lower dosage of medication.

  5. Ronald Vosper Sealey interesting not that we have high blood pressure

  6. Everyone is different.
    140/75 is fine for me.
    120 is too low for me and I get dizzy.
    Recently survived an illness where the systolic reading was 250. Bit lucky there

    2 REPLY
    • Mine gets that high with each visit to a new doctor/hospital. Been with my doctor awhile now and it is still too high. It was always around the 135/140 over 80. But in the last 3/4 months it has increased and got in the 200 range but it is slowly dropping on each visit after the dosage was increased yet again. I like walking but it gets so high I’m afraid of going too far from my home now.

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