High blood pressure in older adults may not in fact be nearly as dangerous as once feared, a panel of experts has suggested. Despite the official definition of high blood pressure remaining at the same 140 over 90, the team insisted that less aggressive treatment be provided for adults over the age of 60 if their blood pressure is lower than 150 over 90.
The advice, however, has not won the unanimous support of medical authorities – even the federal agency responsible for assembling the panel in the first place disagrees.
The report from the panel does however agree that the definition of high blood pressure for young adults and adults with kidney disease or diabetes should remain at the same 140 over 90.
Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure are often prescribed multiple courses of medication – usually at least three or more drugs that must be taken on a regular basis. According to the panel however, such intensive treatment may not in fact be necessary for those over the age of 60 as the guideline rate of 140 over 90 is of no significant danger to older adults.
Hitting back at the suggestion, the American Heart Association warns that the studies carried out by the panel were in no way long-term enough to fully evaluate the potential dangers of increasing the high blood pressure definition or easing off treatment for the elderly. It was also suggested that important evidence pointing to a contradictory outcome was overlooked by the panel.
The panel has since stated that the recommendations their reports offers should be interpreted as guidelines only and it is ultimately up to doctors to make their own decisions on accordance with the health and circumstances of the patients they are treating.