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What's the best blood pressure target for older adults? - Harvard Health

For people over 60, intensive blood pressure lowering may prevent more heart problems than standard therapy.

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Current guidelines from the nation’s leading heart organizations say adults should aim for a blood pressure reading under 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). However, some doctors believe that target might be too aggressive for older people, who may be more prone to side effects from blood pressure drugs, such as dizziness and falls.

Now, a new study confirms the effectiveness of intensive blood pressure reduction in people over 60. "Not only is a lower target safe, it’s also associated with better outcomes in older people," says Dr. Umberto Campia, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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