Question: If I am very old. Do I need treatment for high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
Answer: Well, as we age the pattern of blood pressure which we have systematically changes. Which means the top number or the systolic value goes up, and the bottom number or the diastolic value tends to drop. As we age, the systolic value is a target independent of age. And what does that mean. If you take individuals who are in their 80s and if your top number is 160 or higher, and you subject or submit yourself to treatment, you will reduce your stroke rate by 45 percent.
So if you looked at it that way you would say, if I could drop my potential for stroke by 45 percent by simply bringing my blood pressure down, then there's probably some significant gain to be had there. That being said it's a devilishly difficult task sometimes to bring the blood pressure down consistently throughout a 24 [hour] time interval without the patient simply feeling poorly or the pressure sometimes dropping a little bit too much.
So the physician involved has to be very skillful in picking the right drugs, the right doses, and the right frequency of dosing, and always having a keen eye on what the prevailing blood pressure is in the elderly patient. Which means of all people, elderly individuals should be the ones monitoring their own blood pressures at home so that you can provide the physician a dossier of information which you can then use to develop a treatment plan for you.