Until now, people were told to strive for blood pressures below 140/90, with some taking multiple drugs to achieve that goal.
But the guidelines committee, which spent five years reviewing evidence, concluded that the goal for people over 60 should be a systolic pressure of less than 150. And the diastolic goal should remain less than 90.
Systolic blood pressure, the top number, indicates the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts. Diastolic, the bottom number, refers to pressure on blood vessels when the heart relaxes between beats.
Essentially, the committee determined that there was not strong evidence for the blood pressure targets that had been guiding treatment, and that there were risks associated with the medications used to bring pressures down.
The committee, composed of 17 academics, was tasked with updating guidelines last re-examined a decade ago.
The group added that people over 60 who are taking drugs and have lowered their blood pressure to below 150 can continue taking the medications if they are not experiencing side effects.
But, it cautioned, although efforts to lower blood pressure have had a remarkable effect, reducing the incidence of strokes and heart disease, there is a difference between lowering blood pressure with drugs and having lower pressure naturally.
The report has been published online in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
--ANI (Posted on 19-12-2013)