Study Suggests New Blood Pressure Guidelines for Those Over 50
According to CNN, about a third of adults in the U.S. suffer from hypertension, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.
Recent government data provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have indicated that between 1999 and 2014, the number of people who have their hypertension under control increased from 31% to 53%. Most doctors have long advised systolic blood pressure (BP), BP levels in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts, to be considered normal below 120 and would only treat patients with a pressure level of 140 or above (CNN). However, recent findings from a study performed by the National Institute of Health says patients in the “pre-hypertension” area, between 120 and 140, should be treated too.
For Americans over 50 years old that are suffering from hypertension, the study suggests there is a significant reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke (if your pressure is kept below 120). Over nine thousand participants included in the study were split into two groups – one group received two forms of BP medication to adjust their blood pressure to a number below 140 and the other group took three forms of blood pressure medication to adjust their blood pressure to a number below 120.
Doctor Gary H. Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a major sponsor of the trial, says this study “provides potentially lifesaving information that will be useful to healthcare providers as they consider the best treatment options for some of their patients, particularly over the age of 50.” These findings are in its preliminary stages and needs further review, as patients who take more medication to lower their blood pressure may face challenging side effects, like dehydration, headache and weakness.
Additional methods to regulating blood pressure to 120 or below include losing weight and exercising. Dr. Karen Margolis, director of clinical research at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research suggests that losing about 9 pounds could reduce systolic blood pressure by 4.5 points. Studies performed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, found moderate exercise like walking or cycling for one hour, three times a week reduced systolic blood pressure in sedentary older adults by 5 points in 10 weeks. Your diet also plays a major role in the balancing of blood pressure. Doctors have long advised patients with high blood pressure to cut back on their salt intake and increase fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Nutrients for High Blood Pressure
Taurine is an amino acid that offers great antioxidant protection for the entire body, especially cardiovascular health. It may be very useful for those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, as it acts as a neurotransmitter and a regulator for the heart and circulatory system. Magnesium is another important mineral that aids in the function of over 300 metabolic reactions. Inadequate levels of magnesium can lead to an array of cardiovascular health problems, such as cardiac arrhythmias, blocked arteries, chest pain and high blood pressure. Before starting a supplement regimen, speak to your primary physician or a nutritionist.
For more information, visit the American College of Cardiology’s website at http://www.acc.org/.