Hypertension, or high pressure, is a risk factor for several health conditions. These conditions include cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and other metabolic issues. However, is high blood pressure always a cause for concern?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, up to 75 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. What exactly is high blood pressure? That’s a difficult question to answer accurately, as specialists are still debating what counts as “normal blood pressure.”

Different organizations currently offer different guidelines to identify and diagnose high blood pressure.

For example, hypertension is considered to be a “consistent systolic reading of 140 mm HG (millimeters of mercy) or higher,” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that hypertension occurs when a person has a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm HG or above, and the CDC consider people with people with systolic blood pressure between 120-139 mm HG as only being “at risk” of hypertension.

Doctors advise their patients, especially older adults, to keep monitoring their own blood pressure and keep it in check. This is to ensure it does not reach the threshold for hypertension. This threshold is where many medical professionals consider patients to be at risk for heart disease and stroke, among other things.

A new study conducted by an institute in Berlin suggests that some older people may not face other health problems if they have high blood pressure. In fact, the research notes some people in their 80s may even see some benefits.

The fingers of which appear in the Heart Journal looked at 1,628 women and men with a mean age of 81 years. All were 70 or older when they joined in 2009, and they were all following anti-hypertensive treatments.

Researchers collected the data regarding the participants’ health status and questioned them every 2 years, assessing their blood pressure, among other health measurements.

At the 6-year mark, a statistical analysis was performed to determine how blood pressure could affect a person’s mortality risk. They also adjusted for potential factors, such as activity, lifestyle choices, body mass index, and how many prescription medications for high blood pressure each person took.

Researches saw that people aged 80 and over who had a lower blood pressure of 140/90 mm HG or under actually had a 40% high mortality risk than peers with blood pressure exceeding those thresholds.

Even those who had previously had a stroke or heart attack presented a similar link between blood pressure levels and mortality risk. 

The team also emphasized that people with a blood pressure lower than 140/90 mm HG had a 61% high risk of death than those whose blood pressure remained high in spite of their drug regimen. 

Dr. Antonios Douros of the study notes, “Our results show clearly that, within these groups of patients, anti-hypertensive treatment should be adjusted based on the needs of the individual. We should move away from the blanket approach of applying recommendations of professional associations to all groups of patients.”

In the future, researchers aim to have a more in-depth look at blood pressure-lowering medication to establish when it is actually most likely to help. 

If you’re concerned about your medication or your blood pressure, be sure to speak with your primary care physician. Wondering if your prescription drugs are covered? Contact Medicare Pathways agents to help assist with a no-cost, no obligation formulary and plan benefit review. Give us a call today at 833-897-8965.