Blood Pressure by Age
There are four vital signs that indicate how well or how poorly your body is currently functioning. These vital signs include your respiration rate, your pulse rate, your body temperature, and your blood pressure.
For many senior citizens, blood pressure is a vital sign that causes the most concern. Many senior citizens have their blood pressure checked regularly, and they also take different forms of medication to keep it in check.
But how can you tell if you are managing your blood pressure correctly? Your age can help you understand what you should be targeting.
In this article, you will learn more about the importance of keeping tabs on your BP and how you can manage it better as you age.
Why Is Blood Pressure Important?
When we’re referring to blood pressure, we’re talking about the amount of force the blood exerts upon the walls of our arteries. BP specifically refers to the amount of force reaching the artery walls while the heart is contracting and relaxing.
Keeping an eye on your BP is crucial because it can provide a glimpse of your future in terms of your health.
Another reason it’s essential to be mindful of your blood pressure is that it can go unnoticed easily. It may gradually increase without you noticing because it doesn’t show any symptoms. Some people with high blood pressure or hypertension may only start noticing a problem when they are already dealing with the complications.
If your BP is in the normal range, then you can rest a bit easy while still taking the precautionary measures to maintain your good health.
If your blood pressure is elevated, then you need to act right away. Failing to take the appropriate steps to combat your high blood pressure could lead to serious health problems, such as the ones mentioned below.
The Complications That May Be Caused by Hypertension
The main issue with hypertension is that excessive force can cause real damage to your arteries and internal organs. As you can imagine, sustained damage to your arteries and internal organs is a cause for great concern.
Examples of health problems you may encounter as a result of hypertension include heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and aneurysms, but that’s not all of it. If it affects blood vessels traveling to certain parts of your body, you may lose certain functions. It’s possible you can go blind.
Seniors affected by hypertension are also at greater risk for dementia.
Simply put, hypertension is bad for your body. That’s why you need to develop a deeper understanding of what your current blood pressure is telling you.
What Are the Numbers in a Blood Pressure Test?
You’ve probably undergone a blood pressure test before and have heard or seen the doctor list down a number like 120/70 or something like that. You may also be wondering what those numbers are referring to.
The first number in that equation tells you the systolic pressure. It refers to your blood pressure when the heart is contracting and moving blood throughout your body.
The second number is hinting at diastolic pressure, and it tells you how much pressure is present when your heart is resting and filling up with blood.
Doctors will often use a stethoscope and a manual sphygmomanometer to ascertain your blood pressure.
What Do the Blood Pressure Readings Mean?
Now that we know more about the importance of blood pressure and why we must constantly monitor it, let’s discuss what more specific blood pressure readings mean.
First off, it’s important to note that physicians have established new guidelines when it comes to blood pressure. Several health organizations, including the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, created these new guidelines.
The new guidelines create five distinct BP categories.
In the first group, you have people with “normal” blood pressure. These are the folks with a systolic number that is less than 120 and a diastolic number that does not reach 80.
Included in the next group are the people with “elevated” blood pressure. If you are in this group, that means your systolic blood pressure is somewhere between 120 to 129, while your diastolic blood pressure is below 80.
Physicians consider people with systolic blood pressure ranging from 130 to 139 and diastolic pressure that falls somewhere between 80 to 89 to have high blood pressure. They specifically have “stage one hypertension.”
“Stage two hypertension” means that your systolic pressure is over 140 while your diastolic pressure exceeds 90.
The last group is for those who are in the midst of a “hypertensive crisis.” In this stage, your systolic pressure is over 180, and that may also be with a diastolic pressure reading higher than 120.
What’s worth pointing out about these newly established guidelines for blood pressure is that they designate more people as having hypertension. That is not an accident.
Speaking to Harvard Health, Dr. Paul Conlin, an endocrinologist for both Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System, said that the newly established guidelines are necessary because older ones became irrelevant.
Furthermore, they designed new guidelines to make more people aware of the risks earlier. With the guidelines changed, they will diagnose more people with hypertension earlier in life, and that will hopefully encourage them to act sooner to prevent health problems.
What Is the Ideal Blood Pressure for My Age?
While the new guidelines for BP readings do a lot to improve awareness regarding the silent killer that is hypertension, they may still leave concerned individuals wanting more specific information. Senior citizens may want better defined numbers so that they have clearer targets to hit.
Understanding that, Disabled World has put together a helpful chart outlining ideal BP readings for specific age groups.
People Ages 30-35
For many people, health becomes a more pressing concern once they hit the big 3-0. If you haven’t been staying up to date on your BP, you should change that now you’re entering a new decade of your life.
Women will want to aim for a blood pressure of 122/81 during their early 30s, while men should target a mark of 123/82.
People Ages 36-39
You may already start to have some minor health problems in your late 30s and maybe even serious ones as well. Managing your blood pressure should not take a backseat to those other health concerns, however.
As much as possible, women in this age group should target a BP mark of 123/82. Men should go for a mark of 124/83.
People Ages 40-45
Nagging aches and pains become parts of everyday life when you reach the age of 40. The good news is that the ideal BP marks for folks in their early 40s are not that different from what they had to aim for in their late 30s.
For women, the mark is 124/83, and the men should try to hit 125/83.
People Ages 46-49
Potential health problems only increase in number as people hit their late 40s. You should be more mindful of conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol around this time.
Blood pressure should also remain among your foremost concerns.
Women will want a BP reading around 126/84, and the ideal reading for men is 127/84.
People Ages 50-55
Avoiding chronic health issues as you went through your 30s and 40s does not mean you can let up once you hit the age of 50. If anything, you should become more vigilant than ever regarding your health.
You can do that by aiming for your age group’s ideal blood pressure. The ideal blood pressure for women in their early 50s is 129/85, and the mark for men is 128/85.
People Ages 56-59
It’s going to be harder for you to maintain low blood pressure as you approach senior citizenship, but you can still keep it in check to some degree.
Women in their late 50s will want a BP reading of 130/86, and the men should try for a reading of 131/87.
People over the age of 60
If you’re a woman over the age of 60, your ideal blood pressure is 134/84. If you’re a man over the age of 60, the preferred BP mark is 135/88.
Senior citizens need to be aware of what their blood pressure is because aging is one of the main risk factors of hypertension.
Why Do People Become More Susceptible to Hypertension as They Get Older?
As noted above, aging is among the main risk factors for developing hypertension. That’s why it’s worth considering moving your elderly loved ones to an assisted living facility if you can no longer provide the care they need. Assisted living facilities can monitor a resident’s condition better, and that will guard against hypertension going untreated.
But why exactly does getting older make you more susceptible to hypertension?
Unfortunately, medical professionals still aren’t completely clear on why aging can increase one’s chances of developing hypertension.
It’s possible that the narrower arteries some people develop as they age may contribute to hypertension. Some of the effects of the bad habits people had when they were younger may also have a bigger impact on older bodies, and that could also be an explanation for why someone has high blood pressure.
What Senior Citizens Can Do to Better Manage Their Blood Pressure
Though an exact explanation of the relationship between aging and hypertension remains unavailable, senior citizens need to prioritize blood pressure maintenance if they want to enjoy good health in their golden years.
Listed below are things that older individuals can do to maintain full control over their blood pressure and prevent it from taking over their lives.
Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Regardless of whether you have already developed hypertension or trying to steer clear of it, going to the doctor regularly is a must. Your doctor can tell you if there’s anything unusual about your blood pressure or how often you need to check it and if there are additional actions you need to take.
Going to the doctor is also crucial because you want to update any medications.
Purchase a Blood Pressure Monitor to Use at Home
Admittedly, making frequent visits to the doctor can be a real hassle. The good news for senior citizens is that blood pressure monitors are now widely available.
Ask your doctor how to use one properly and then rely on it to get accurate daily readings of your BP. Since you already know what the ideal BP reading is for someone your age, you can spot any abnormalities right away and bring them to your doctor’s attention.
Improve Your Diet
Eating healthier is known to have several positive effects on the human body. It should come as no surprise that a healthy diet can also help you rein in your blood pressure.
Specific foods you’ll want to consume regularly include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Meanwhile, food items you’ll want to avoid include processed foods and items rich in saturated fat and sodium.
You can’t talk about eating healthier without also discussing the benefits of exercise. Developing an exercise routine can work wonders for you. Even if all you can manage is a few strolls around the neighborhood, that still beats lying in bed or sitting on the couch all day.
The trouble with high blood pressure is that it can get you without you even knowing that it was a threat, to begin with. Such is the risk of leaving hypertension unchecked.
You must do everything you can to manage your blood pressure early on so you can minimize the effects on your body as you age.
For senior citizens who need more assistance in managing their blood pressure, Bethany Homes is ready to help. Contact them right away to secure expert care for your elderly loved ones.