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High Blood Pressure - Definition Of Hypertension, Blood Pressure Changes And Hypertension, Risk Of Hypertension, Benefits Of Antihypertensive Therapy - Nonpharmacologic interventions

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2

Although diastolic blood pressure is considered an important risk factor for cerebrovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary heart disease, it is now clear that isolated systolic hypertension and elevated pulse pressure also play an important role in the development of these diseases, which are the major causes of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among subjects over sixty-five years of age. The benefit of antihypertensive therapy in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications has been shown for systolic and systolo-diastolic hypertension. Essential hypertension (no discoverable organic cause) is the main cause of hypertension in the elderly population. In addition, secondary hypertension—especially that associated with kidney disease—is more common in older than in younger adults.

Nonpharmacologic interventions

Older hypertensive patients can also benefit from nonpharmacologic interventions designed to lower blood pressure (JNC-VI), including weight control, reduction of excessive alcohol consumption, cessation of smoking, and increased exercise. Any reduction of sodium intake in elderly people should be cautious because it can reduce food intake.

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