New Guidelines for Treatment of High Blood Pressure

Dec 19, 2013

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They call it the "silent killer".  Blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure.  And today, an expert panel is recommending a change in how older patients are treated.  

The new guidelines say for patients over 60, drug therapy is not needed until blood pressure reaches 150 over 90.  Medication is still recommended for those under 60 for blood pressure of 140 over 90 or higher.  

Dr. John Bisognano, cardiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says after pouring through mounds of data, the experts concluded that the threshold for drug therapy could be relaxed for older patients. More aggressive treatment can sometimes cause fainting or falling.

Dr. Bisognano says the other blood pressure numbers you're probably familiar with still stand. "We all know that if somebody's blood pressure is 120/80 or lower, that's the best blood pressure to have. That's the blood pressure that comes with the least cardiovascular side effects, the least heart attacks, the least strokes, the least kidney disease."

 Experts say whether you take medication for high blood pressure or not, it's still important to get enough exercise and get a moderate amount of sodium in your diet.