New BP med threshold for older adults

checking blood pressure According to a new guideline from the American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians, doctors should begin treating high blood pressure in healthy adults ages 60 and older when the top number (systolic pressure) is at or higher than 150 mm Hg. This challenges the practice of routinely treating older adults when systolic pressure reaches 140 mm Hg.

The organizations say results of recent studies suggest aggressively treating blood pressure in otherwise healthy older adults can lead to adverse effects such as fainting or blood pressure that’s too low.

However, the guideline advises doctors to take action on a case-by-case basis. Using the previously recommended systolic threshold of 140 mm Hg may be more appropriate for adults age 60 or older who are at high risk for heart disease or who have a history of  stroke or ministroke.

If you’re age 60 or older and currently being treated for high blood pressure, speak to your doctor about the new guideline and whether your current blood pressure medication regimen should be modified.