High blood pressure in the elderly: how to identify, values and treatment
High blood pressure in the elderly, scientifically known as hypertension, should be controlled whenever it is detected, as high pressure at older ages greatly increases the risk of serious cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack or stroke.
It is common for pressure to increase with age, due to the aging of blood vessels, which is why, in the elderly, hypertension is only considered when the pressure value exceeds 150 x 90 mmHg, unlike young adults, which is when it is greater than 140 x 90 mmHg.
Despite this, the elderly should not be careless, and when the pressure already shows signs of increase, it is important to change habits such as reducing salt consumption and practicing physical activities regularly, and, when instructed, use antihypertensive drugs prescribed by the doctor, like enalapril or losartan, for example.
How to detect hypertension in the elderly
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, in the elderly usually does not cause symptoms and, therefore, the diagnosis is made by measuring blood pressure on different days, being considered high when it reaches values equal to or greater than 150 x 90 mmHg.
However, when there are doubts about the time that increases or if it is really high, it is also possible to carry out some diagnostic tests, such as HRPM, or home blood pressure monitoring, in which several measurements are taken weekly at home or at the health center. health, or through MAPA, which is ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, performed by placing a device attached to the body for 2 to 3 days, making several assessments throughout the day.
Here’s how to measure blood pressure correctly at home:
Blood pressure values in the elderly
Blood pressure values in the elderly are slightly different from those in a young adult:
|young adult||Elderly||elderly with diabetes|
|ideal pressure||< 120 x 80 mmHg||< 120 x 80 mmHg||< 120 x 80 mmHg|
|pre-hypertensive||120 x 80 mmHg to 139 x 89 mmHg||120 x 80 mmHg to 149 x 89 mmHg||120 x 80 mmHg to 139 x 89 mmHg|
|hypertensive||> or = 140 x 90 mmHg||> or = at 150 x 90 mmHg||> or = 140 x 90 mmHg|
The value of high blood pressure is a little different in the elderly, as it is considered natural that the pressure increases slightly with age, due to the loss of elasticity of the vessels.
The ideal pressure for the elderly should be up to 120 x 80 mmHg, but up to 149 x 89 mmHg is considered acceptable. However, blood pressure should be more tightly controlled in older people who have other illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or heart disease.
Why is blood pressure higher in the elderly?
Some risk factors for high blood pressure in the elderly include:
- Age over 65 years;
- Hypertension in the family;
- Overweight or obesity;
- Diabetes or high cholesterol and triglycerides;
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages and being a smoker.
Blood pressure tends to rise as age increases, because as you age, the body undergoes some changes, such as stiffening and micro-lesions in the walls of blood vessels, in addition to changes in hormones at menopause and greater impairment in the function of important organs such as the heart and kidneys.
Therefore, it is very important to have routine annual check-ups with the general practitioner, geriatrician or cardiologist, so that changes are detected as soon as possible.
How is the treatment done?
To treat high blood pressure in the elderly, it is necessary to make some lifestyle changes, such as:
- Go to the doctor every 3 months to assess the effectiveness of the treatment;
- Weight reduction, in case of excess weight;
- Decreased consumption of alcoholic beverages and quitting smoking;
- Reduce salt consumption and avoid foods rich in fats such as sausages, snacks and ready-to-eat foods;
- Practice aerobic physical activity at least 3 times a week. See which are the best exercises for seniors;
- Consume foods richer in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber;
- Perform some relaxation technique, such as yoga or pilates.
Drug treatment is also performed, especially in cases where the pressure is very high or has not reduced enough with changes in lifestyle, done through the use of drugs that aim to reduce pressure and some examples include diuretics, calcium channel, angiotensin inhibitors and beta blockers, for example. For more details on these remedies, see remedies to control high blood pressure.
In addition, it is important to emphasize that the treatment for hypertension in the elderly must be done in a very careful and individualized way, especially for those who have other health problems such as heart disease, urinary incontinence and a tendency to feel dizzy when standing up.
It is also recommended to follow a diet rich in vegetables, because some have active ingredients that can complement the treatment with medicines, such as garlic tea, eggplant with orange or beet with passion fruit juices, for example, which improve circulation and are diuretics, helping to control blood pressure. Check out some recipes for natural remedies for high blood pressure.
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