It’s typical to experience a gradual rise in blood pressure as you age, especially once you’ve been around for 6 or 7 decades. Notice we said typical, not healthy. The typical person dies of heart disease or stroke. Not optimal, not normal. And we’re in favor of optimal, because you and your husband aren’t typical. You’re exceptional.
Yet after 70, only one in three men and one in four women have healthy blood pressure. The American Heart Association’s target is under 140/90 if you’re 65 to 79, and a top number (systolic pressure) of 140 to 145 if you’re 80 or older.
We have a more aggressive rule of thumb: We like to see blood pressure as low as you can get it without keeling over. Optimal is 115/75. Dr. Mike’s is 115/75; Mehmet’s blood pressure stays around 110/75. Join our club! Your blood pressure is quite responsive to lifestyle changes such as keeping your weight in check, staying physically active, and not smoking. If that’s not enough to get your husband’s blood pressure in the optimal range (yours, too), talk with your doc about adding medications. Then, take them like your life depends on it — because it does. After age 80, meds can lower your stroke risk 30% and your odds of heart failure 64%. A normal blood pressure makes you younger.