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Is It Normal to Have High Blood Pressure When You’re Older?

March 29, 2024

Blood pressure is vital to our health, but just like the seasons, it changes over time.

But does that mean it’s “normal” to have high blood pressure when we’re older?

Here’s what you need to know about age and blood pressure.

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When we talk about blood pressure, we’re looking at two numbers.

Blood pressure measures how much pressure there is against the walls of your blood vessels as your heart pumps blood.

If you’ve ever had your blood pressure checked before, the reading came with two numbers. These are:

  • Systolic blood pressure: This is the top number. It shows how much pressure your blood puts on your artery walls when your heart pumps.
  • Diastolic blood pressure: This is the bottom number. It measures the pressure on your artery walls when your heart rests between beats.

A normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80. Once your blood pressure reaches 130/80 or higher, you meet the definition of high blood pressure.

> Related: These 6 Foods Can Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

As we age, our blood pressure tends to go up.

This happens because our arteries, which carry blood from our hearts, change over time. They become stiffer, which can result in higher blood pressure.

But that doesn’t mean it’s alright to have high blood pressure when we’re older.

“Even though our blood pressure changes with age, the guidelines for keeping it healthy stay the same,” says Raashi Khanna, DO, primary care provider with Hartford HealthCare Medical Group.

That’s right – whether you’re 25 or 85, the standards for high blood pressure are the same.

The older you are, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure.

According to statistics, more than 75% of adults over 65 have high blood pressure.

Adults between the ages of 55-64 are also at-risk, with 70 percent of men and 63 percent of women meeting the standard.

Other factors can also impact your blood pressure, including family history, ethnicity and gender.

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7 lifestyle choices that can help control your blood pressure

By understanding these factors and making positive lifestyle changes, you can manage and control your blood pressure effectively:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight: staying at a healthy weight reduces strain on your heart.
  2. Healthy eating: opt for a diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, like the DASH diet.
  3. Limiting salt intake: too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.
  4. Exercising regularly: being active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week helps lower blood pressure.
  5. Moderating alcohol: limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day.
  6. Quitting smoking: smoking damages blood vessels, increasing the risk of high blood pressure.
  7. Stress management: mediation and deep breathing can help lower blood pressure.