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High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure in 86 year old woman

03/27/2001

Question:

What are the acceptable levels for diastolic and systolic bloodpressure in a healthy 86 year old women?

Answer:

Blood pressure tends to increase with age, but so does the risk for heart disease and stroke. The correlation between blood pressure and risk gets stronger as you get older. That means that lowering the blood pressure in the older age group has even more benefit.

The level for normal blood pressure stays the same through life. Optimal blood pressure for most people is 135/85. Older patients may have more difficulty tolerating blood pressure medications, but their treatment goals should stay the same. Sometimes it helps to lower blood pressure more slowly (over several months) to increase tolerability of the treatment.

While the diastolic blood pressure may be a risk factor in younger people, it is not so in older patients. Therefore, only the systolic blood pressure is important in people over age 55. The ideal systolic blood pressure in an otherwise healthy person stays at 135 mm Hg. At any age group, most physicians will start treatment when the blood pressure goes over 140/90.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati