Seniors* are defined as people over 65 years old. As many as 60-80% of Americans over this age have hypertension, and most exhibit classic hypertension where the top number is high and bottom number is low (called isolated systolic hypertension or ISH).
These patients’ blood pressure should be measured while standing, since orthostatic hypotension (sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up) is common in this age group.
Blood pressure control needs to be gradual in this population. Treatment should include a low sodium diet. Factors that may limit treatment include dizziness, confusion, and sleepiness at lower blood pressures. In these patients, therapy is tailored to allow standing blood pressure to rise to a level where the patient’s symptoms improve.
*Florida Kidney Physicians disagrees with grouping patients by age, as other factors including functionality and/or the existence of other illnesses are more relevant to treatment.