Harvard Heart Letter

Optimal blood pressure: A moving target?

People who achieve a systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) of 120 mm Hg may have fewer heart attacks and strokes and live longer than those who reach a systolic blood pressure goal of 140 mm Hg. But they may need to take an average of three medications to reach the lower goal. The lower goal might not be a good idea for older people, who are more prone to side effects such as fatigue and dizziness from blood pressure drugs.
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