A panel convened by the National Institutes of Health recently said that people over the age of 60 with high blood pressure could settle for a goal of 150/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). While this is more than the previous, more stringent standard of 140/90, it still provides health benefits, but there is still some debate. Bolstering the case for the 150/90 goal is the understanding that taking multiple medications (in addition to exercising and eating a healthy diet) increases the change of side effects. While lowering blood pressure certainly lowers stroke risk, aggressive lowering of hypertension may harm patients with impaired kidney or liver function and may induce blurry vision, fainting, weakness, and erectile dysfunction. A personalized approach is recommended.

The more blood your heart pumps, and the narrower your arteries, the greater your blood pressure will be. High blood pressure is vital to treat because it can dramatically raiseĀ  your risk of cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, you can find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked regularly. If it is high, you can take steps to lower it. Just as important, if your blood pressure is normal, you can learn how to keep it from rising. Next time you are at your local Med-Fast Pharmacy, ask your pharmacists to take your blood pressure and keep a log of your readings.

You can prevent high blood pressure by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight can make you two to six times more likely to develop high blood pressure than if you are at your desirable weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference in helping to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
  • Getting regular exercise: People who are physically active have a lower risk of getting high blood pressure — 20% to 50% lower — than people who are not active. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to benefit from physical activity. Even light activities, if done daily, can help lower your risk.
  • Reducing salt intake: Often, when people with high blood pressure cut back on salt, their blood pressure falls. Cutting back on salt also prevents blood pressure from rising.
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all: Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. To help prevent high blood pressure, limit how much alcohol you drink to no more than two drinks a day. The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommends that for overall health, women should limit their alcohol to no more than one drink a day.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can make blood pressure go up, and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure. There are many steps you can take to reduce your stress. The article on easing stress will get you started.

(Information on how you can prevent high blood pressure from webmd on 7.30.14)