What’s going on with my blood pressure? First of all to understand blood pressure, it is the resistance produced each time the heart beats and sends blood coursing through the arteries and the peak reading is the systolic pressure. Between beats, the heart relaxes and the lowest reading is the diastolic pressure.
In a perfect world, 120 over 80 would be terrific for an adult. What causes high blood pressure? Although Genetic factors can play a role, it is generally agreed that dietary, lifestyle, psychological and environmental issues come into play.
For adults age 60 and over, studies show that medications, like beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors has led to the recommendations by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to aim for a systolic BP of 140 for adults 60 and under and a BP of 150 for those ages 60 and over.
The results of these new targets reduced the rates of cardiovascular events. These events include heart attack and heart failure, as well as stroke, by almost 33% and the risk of death at almost 25%.
(Information from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Health)