Hypertension is a condition that can lead to stroke, renal failure and death. Early treatment is essential in managing and preventing these consequences. The Eight Joint National Committee (JNC 8) recently updated its guidelines and raised the blood pressure threshold for seniors.
Now individuals over 60 years of age or those who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease can have blood pressure readings up to 150 mm Hg or higher for systolic pressure or more than 90 mm Hg for diastolic pressure at which pharmacologic options can be discussed. At that point, drug therapy can be initiated to maintain blood pressure below the cutoff. The previous targeted blood pressure was the same as for younger patients with hypertension—140/90 mm Hg.
The JNC 8 panel recommends that healthy lifestyle interventions should be implemented before initiating drug therapy. “Although this guideline provides evidence-based recommendations for the management of high blood pressure…, these recommendations are not a substitute for clinical judgment, and decisions about care must carefully consider and incorporate the clinical characteristics and circumstances of each individual patient,” the authors wrote in their report published in JAMA.