Published by Harvard Heart Letter
Research we’re watching
Although conventional wisdom suggests blood pressure rises gradually as people age, that isn't true for everyone, according to new research. However, a systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) that regularly goes above 120 to 125 mm Hg may signal impending high blood pressure, regardless of a person's age.
The study included data from 1,252 of the original participants of the Framingham Heart Study, who had their blood pressure measured roughly every two years between 1948 and 2005. Researchers then categorized the participants based on the age at which they received a diagnosis of high blood pressure (in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or never). They defined high blood pressure by the standard at the time: equal to or over 140/90 mm Hg.