There are a few benefits to getting older, and your blood pressure is one of them.
But this benefit is lost if you and your doctor aren’t aware it exists. And it’s also lost if you visit the American Heart Association (AHA) website, which doesn’t recognize this benefit.
Simply put: If you’re around retirement age or older, the standard blood pressure guidelines may no longer apply.
And even better: The new guidelines can even work to your advantage, helping you to avoid unnecessary medication — which can be far more hazardous to your health than simply having high blood pressure. I’ll explain how in just a minute…
The new “normal” isn’t really normal
Let’s start with a quick review of the revised blood pressure (BP) guidelines adopted by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in 2017:
- Normal: 120 over 80 (The top number is systolic, the bottom is diastolic.)
- Elevated: 120-129 systolic, 79 or less diastolic
- Stage one hypertension: 130-139 systolic, 80-89 diastolic
- Stage two hypertension: 140 or higher systolic, 90 or higher diastolic
These guidelines are ideal — not for keeping people in prime health, but for selling a massive amount of BP drugs. And they’re a long way from the previous, more lax standard where hypertension didn’t begin until your BP reached 140 over 90.
AHA and ACC officials are clearly erring on the side of caution, but for healthy people with no other cardiovascular problems, regarding 120/80 as “normal” is just plain wrong. That’s a pretty aggressive target, particularly for older adults.
And it exacerbates the problem when doctors add prescription drugs to the equation in an effort to drastically lower your BP numbers.
For seniors, this is more than a problem — it’s an outright hazard…
Getting blood pressure just right
A dangerous combination of low blood pressure and excess prescription drug use increases seniors’ risks of fainting, falling, and bone fractures — all of which can be life-threatening in advanced age.
But more importantly, if you’re in your 60s or older, a slightly elevated blood pressure can actually be good for your heart and brain.
In Dr. Marc Micozzi’s Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol, he points out that controlling blood pressure is “the single most important step you can take to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.”
But he also has an important message for seniors. He notes that compelling research has persuaded a government committee of medical experts to increase the “safe” BP levels for people over 60.
He says, “The committee recommended that treatments to reduce blood pressure for this age group not begin until BP levels are over 150/90.”
Other reputable research has suggested 160/100 and 140/90 as safe levels to begin treatment, which would put 150/90 right in an optimal range.
Meanwhile, doctors following the AHA/ACC guidelines would have their senior patients believe that 150 systolic is a full 30 points above the danger zone! And that’s right when they pull the prescription pad out.
Different ages, different needs
You might be wondering why seniors have a different standard for hypertension…
Dr. Micozzi explains that our knowledge of medicine is continually evolving.
For instance, he points to recent research revealing that slightly elevated BP may actually help older people maintain sufficient blood circulation to the heart muscle and brain, helping them avoid heart attacks, strokes, and vascular dementia.
And he adds, “Slightly higher blood pressure may also help pump more oxygen and glucose to sensitive tissues like the brain, preserving memory and cognition.”
Beyond that, Dr. Micozzi warns that when overly aggressive lowering of blood pressure is successful, seniors risk end-stage kidney disease and kidney failure — both of which can be fatal, of course.
His advice is to embrace the “golden rule of moderation” as your guide.
Whatever your age, Dr. Micozzi always urges that you exercise caution when it comes to BP drugs. In his Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol, he recommends that you always insist on older, safer drug treatments and explains his reasons why — along with a wide variety of effective non-drug strategies for safely controlling your blood pressure.