Have you been concerned about high blood pressure (hypertension)? Or are you worried about an older relative having a stroke or heart attacks?
You’re not alone. After all, hypertension is the most common chronic condition among older adults, and medications for blood pressure (BP) are among the most commonly taken drugs in the US.
Even more important: poorly controlled hypertension is a major contributor to the most common causes of death and disability in older adults: strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure.
So it’s certainly sensible for older adults – and for those helping aging parents – to think about lowering blood pressure.
And once you start thinking about high blood pressure, you’ll probably start to wonder.
Are the blood pressure medications you’re taking enough? Is your blood pressure at the “right” level or should you and your doctors work on changing things?
And what about that major research – the SPRINT trial — that made the news in 2015? (In this study, older adults randomized to aim for a lower BP did better than those who got “standard” BP treatment.)
These are excellent questions to ask, so I’d like to help you answer them.
Now, I can’t provide exact answers on the Internet. But what I can do is provide a sensible process that will help you successfully address these questions about lowering blood pressure.
In this article, I’ll share with you the process that I use to:
- Assess an older person’s blood pressure management plan, and
- Determine whether we should attempt changes.
If you’re an older adult, you can use this approach to get started assessing your own BP management plan. This will help you to better work with your doctors on assessing and managing your blood pressure.
If you are helping an older relative manage health, you can follow these steps on behalf of your relative.