Older people will benefit from good blood pressure control. This is particularly important for those over the age of 75, in whom tight blood pressure control can prevent heart attacks and stroke. Experts recently reviewed all the research evidence and concluded that older people are likely to live longer if they receive appropriate cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-controlling treatment.
Blood pressure in the elderly
According to the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, a target systolic blood pressure (upper reading) of between 120 mmHg to 150 mmHg is both safe and effective in older people, but individual targets must be based on overall frailty and the other health issues someone is experiencing.
They also concluded that:
- A statin drug reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in the elderly, and they are not more susceptible than younger people to known side effects such as muscle problems and diabetes.
- Older people should have their combination of medicines monitored regularly to avoid drug-drug interactions, and should be aware that some over-the-counter supplements may interact with their medicines (always check with a pharmacist)
- Antiplatelet therapy (eg mini-aspirin) is NOT recommended for older age groups as the benefits do not outweigh the risks.
- Older people should still be encouraged to avoid smoking, exercise regularly and maintain a normal body weight.
If you are unable to tolerate a statin drug, you may find that plant sterols and other cholesterol-lowering supplements are an effective alternative. Click here to read more about diet and cholesterol.
If you are unable to take mini-aspirin, a natural extract from the clear jelly around tomato seeds, known as Fruitflow, has been shown to reduce abnormal blood clotting as effectively as low dose aspirin, but without the side effects. CLick here to find out more about tomato extracts and blood clotting.
If you are worried about your blood pressure or any medications you are taking, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.
Click here for advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.