The New Blood Pressure Guidelines: What All Seniors Should Know!

Mixed Berries

For seniors, today is the perfect time to start monitoring their blood pressure. It’s also the ideal time for seniors to learn about the new blood pressure guidelines, which have changed significantly.

What you don’t know CAN hurt you, and the new blood pressure guidelines mean that many more Americans have high blood pressure than previously thought.

According to experts at Harvard Health, “If you didn't have high blood pressure before, there's a good chance you do now. The latest guidelines (shown below) have made the importance of maintaining lower blood pressure numbers abundantly clear. Indeed, now nearly half of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure.”

 

The New Blood Pressure Guidelines in Detail

 

In 2017, new guidelines from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other health organizations lowered the numbers for the diagnosis of high blood pressure to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and higher for all adults. The previous guidelines set the threshold at 140/90 mm Hg for people younger than age 65 and 150/80 mm Hg for those ages 65 and older.

This means 70% to 79% of men ages 55 and older are now classified as having hypertension. That includes many men whose blood pressure had previously been considered healthy.

Says Dr. Paul Conlin, an endocrinologist with Harvard-affiliated VA Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women's Hospital, "The goal now with the new guidelines is to help people address high blood pressure — and the problems that may accompany it like heart attack and stroke — much earlier."

Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director at Bryn Mawr Terrace, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, says, “This is an especially important message for senior adults to heed. Why? Because a majority of older Americans were already considered to have high blood pressure before the new, more stringent guidelines were released.”

 

Tips for Seniors to Lower their Risk of High Blood Pressure

Seniors should talk to their doctor about high blood pressure to develop an individualized plan to keep their blood pressure in a safe range. According to theNational Institute on Agingthere are many lifestyle changes seniors can make to lower their risk of high blood pressure:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight adds to your risk of high blood pressure. Ask your doctor if you need to lose weight.
  • Exercise every day – Moderate exercise can lower your risk of high blood pressure. Set some goals so you can exercise safely and work your way up to exercising at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise plan.
  • Eat a healthy diet – A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products may help to lower blood pressure.
  • Reduce your salt intake – As you get older, the body and blood pressure become more sensitive to salt. A low-salt diet, such as the DASH diet, might help lower your blood pressure.
  • Drink less alcohol – Alcohol can affect your blood pressure. Men should not have more than two drinks a day and women no more than one a day to lower their risk of high blood pressure.
  • Don't smoke – Smoking increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, and other health problems. You are never too old to quit, and the health benefits of quitting can be realized at any age.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – Tell your doctor if you've been told you snore or sound like you stop breathing for moments when you sleep. This may be a sign of sleep apnea. Treating sleep apnea and getting a good night's sleep can help to lower blood pressure.
  • Manage your stress – Relaxing and coping with problems can also help lower high blood pressure.

Janet adds, “By understanding the new guidelines and taking the steps outlined above, seniors can control their blood pressure and enjoy a healthier life!”

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, The New Blood Pressure Guidelines: What All Seniors Should Know, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

 There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

 We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

 Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

 Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), 

offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living,  personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

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Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician. 

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