man taking his blood pressue

Gretchen Heuring

(High Blood Pressure)
in Older People

By | 07.25.2014


High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is especially common in the elderly. It can damage the heart and other organs and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.


Until recently, the medical community believed that a certain degree of high blood pressure is normal to the aging process. Now we know differently. High blood pressure in anyone is dangerous.


High Blood Pressure Can Weaken Arteries

Like the house that Jack built, if the force on your arteries is too high, it creates microscopic tears in the artery walls. Those little tears then form scar tissue. The scar tissue provides a lodging place for bits fat, like cholesterol. Then the bits of fat bind together to form plaque. The plaque builds up just like it does on your teeth, and the inside of your arteries becomes narrower. Less blood can flow through narrowed arteries and your organs suffer because they aren't getting enough blood. In addition, slower moving blood can clot which can completely block the blood supply to parts of your body (like your heart or your brain!)


Know Your Blood Pressure Levels

This is about you and the rest of your life. It's definitely not about your nagging spouse or the worried look on the nurse's face when she takes your blood pressure in the doctor's office. It's your body and what's going on inside it is under your control.


Your doctor may give you some medications to lower your blood pressure or control your cholesterol, but is just isn't right to depend on meds for a solution. You need to limit your alcohol consumption if you drink, stop smoking if you smoke, get at least six hours of huff and puff exercise a week, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.


If you have pain or other limitations in your body that makes it difficult to exercise then ask your doctor for a prescription to see a physical therapist. You will be amazed at how much exercise you can actually do, and you will also learn how to care for painful joints or other problems. A long healthy life for you depends on this. Don't wait.


High Blood PressureAHA Logo


Blood Pressure Results

Top Number, Bottom Number


Systolic (Top Number)

When heart beats the force creates pressure on the arteries.


Normal Below 120 mm Hg
Borderline 120-139 mm Hg
Stage I 140-159 mm Hg
Stage 2 160+


mm Hg = milimeters of mercury

The pressure your blood pushes past the pressure cuff.


Diastolic (Bottom Number)

Pressure when heart rests between beats.


Normal Below 80 mm Hg
Borderline 80-89 mm Hg
Stage I 90-99 mm Hg
Stage 2 100+ mm Hg


mm Hg = milimeters of mercury

The pressure your blood pushes past the pressure cuff.


Pulse (Heart Rate) At Rest

Normal 60-100 bpm
Slow Below 60 bpm
Fast Above 100 bpm


bpm = beats per minute



Woman arguing with her older parent

Gretchen Heuring

How To Get Your Older Person To The Doctor

By | 09.20.2011


I've been reading about the "therapeutic fib" best used to get an older person to the doctor. Here's one that seems to work pretty well if you live nearby or are visiting.


Make an appointment for your person with his doctor. Then send a list of your concerns to the MD. Next, tell your person that YOU need to see the doctor and want company and moral support. Of course it will be touchy and difficult but certainly worth a try.


If you don't live nearby, tell your person you need a physical to renew an insurance policy. Sending a note ahead of time to the doctor with a list of concerns is an excellent idea.


There is a great side-benefit here too. You will be in contact with your peron's doctor and can establish a relationship that will be most valuable as time goes on.


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Big Hamburger

Cholesterol In Older Bodies


As soon as someone starts talking to me about all the bits and parts of cholesterol and which part is which, and what to eat or not eat, I get SO confused. Usually, I just tune out and have a little butter on my toast. Butter is good, right?