Older adults continued...
If you are older than 50, a
systolic blood pressure (the upper number) over 140 is a
more important risk factor for stroke and heart disease than your diastolic
blood pressure (the lower number).
This type of
high blood pressure is more common in older adults,
especially older women. In fact, most people older than 60
who have high blood pressure have ISH.
should be treated, because it can damage organs such as the brain, kidneys,
heart, and eyes.
Lifestyle changes might be enough to lower blood pressure. These changes include eating healthy with the DASH diet, losing weight, being active, limiting sodium, and limiting alcohol.
Your doctor may have you take a high blood pressure medicine such as a diuretic.
One problem with
treating ISH is that some high blood pressure medicines can cause blood
pressure to go too low, causing side effects like lightheadedness or
a slow heartbeat. And older people are more
likely to get these side effects. That's why it's important to monitor your blood pressure and to let your doctor know if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint.
If you have a blood pressure of 120 to 139
systolic (the upper number in a blood pressure measurement) over 80 to 89
diastolic (lower number), you have prehypertension. This is blood
pressure that is higher than normal but not high enough to be high blood
pressure. It is a warning that your blood pressure is going up. You
need to begin lifestyle changes to lower your risk for stroke, heart disease,
and other problems caused by high blood pressure.
For more information, see the topic Prehypertension.
Secondary high blood pressure
Secondary high blood pressure treatment depends
on the cause. For example, treatment of high blood pressure caused
by kidney disease will also include treating the kidney problem. Even if the
condition that caused your high blood pressure is treated,
you may still have to take blood pressure medicine throughout your
For more information, see the topic Secondary High Blood Pressure.