High blood pressure for seniros is definded as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher, both numbers being important. High blood pressure is the silent killer and usually has no symptoms. Some people may not even discover having it until having trouble with their brain, heart, or kidneys.
- The heart gets larger leading to heart failure finally.
- Small bulges (aneurysms) are formed in blood vessels. Common locations are the main artery from the heart (aorta); arteries in the brain, legs, and intestines; and the artery leading to the spleen.
- Blood vessels in the kidney become narrow leading to kidney failure.
- Arteries throughout the body “harden” faster, particularly in the brain, heart, kidneys and legs. This can cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or amputation of part of the leg.
- Blood vessels in the eyes burst or bleed, causing vision changes and resulting in blindness.
For elderly a blood pressure reading below 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. Generally lower is better. However, very low blood pressure can sometimes be a cause for concern and should be monitored by a doctor. Doctors classify blood pressures under 140/90 mmHg as either normal or prehypertension. Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg.
Prehypertension is the blood pressure for Systolic (SYS) between 120 and 139, or between 80 and 89. For example, blood pressure readings of 128/89, 130/86 or for Diastolic (DIA) 138/82, are all in the prehypertension range. If a senior’s blood pressure is in the prehypertension range, it is more likely that he/she will finally develop to high blood pressure unless taking immediate action to prevent it.
Some people’s blood pressure is high only when they visit the doctor’s office. This condition is called white coat hypertension. If your doctor suspects this, you may be requested to check and record your blood pressure at home with a home BP monitor.
Some people can prevent or control high blood pressure by changing to healthier habits, such as:
- Being physically active (e.g. walking 30 minutes every day)
- Following a heart-healthy diet, including cutting down on salt and sodium and eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products
- Limiting alcohol drinking
- Reduce excess weight to stay at a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking