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High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure

08/27/2007

Question:

Is a blood pressure reading of 180/30 for a 80 year old woman with a history of quadruple heart surgary (11 years ago) condsidered dangerous?

Answer:

A blood pressure of 180/30 is too high at any age.  The optimal blood pressure is 120/80, and the current guidelines recommend treatment for blood pressure over 130/80 in patients at higher risk.

The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk for heart disease and stroke.  This is true at any age.  You have a history of coronary artery disease and are at higher risk.  Also, you have a high pulse pressure (the difference between the upper and the lower number), which is an indicator of increased risk.  In your case, every effort should be made to get your systolic blood pressure (the upper number) as close to 130 as possible.

It is sometimes difficult to get the blood pressure to control level, and medications may have to be adjusted slowly and carefully.  However, if you tolerate the regimen, you should aim for a blood pressure of 130/80 or lower. You should discuss this with your physician to see what kind of treatment is right for you.

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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