Blood pressure as we age: What is a healthy target?

In this video, Drs. Anthony Levinson and Richard Sztramko will discuss high blood pressure and what healthy blood pressure targets are for older adults. You will meet Russel who has taken their blood pressure at a local pharmacy and gotten a result of 140/95. Find out what their best next steps would be.


Learn the answers to the following questions:

  • What is blood pressure?
  • How do you properly measure blood pressure at home?
  • What time of day should you take your blood pressure? Are there things you should avoid prior to taking it?
  • What kind of blood pressure monitor should I choose?
  • Is there an ideal blood pressure target?
  • Why is it important to measure your blood pressure at home?
  • Why is it important to maintain an ideal blood pressure?
  • Who might be at risk of developing high blood pressure?
  • What are the main causes of high blood pressure?


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1.     McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. In people 60 years of age or older, blood pressure targets should be determined based on their history and risk factors. (n.d.). Accessed August 11, 2021. Available from:

2.     Public Health Agency of Canada. The Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System: Hypertension in Canada, 2010. 2011:7. Available from:

3.     National High Blood Pressure Education Program. The Seventh Report on the Joint National Committee on: Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Bethesda, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2003.

4.     Chobanian A V., Bakris GL, Black HR, et al. Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension. 2003;42(6):1206-1252. doi:10.1161/01.HYP.0000107251.49515.c2

5.     Vasan RS, Beiser A, Seshadri S, et al. Residual Lifetime Risk for Developing Hypertension in Middle-aged Women and MenThe Framingham Heart Study. JAMA. 2002;287(8):1003-1010. doi:10.1001/jama.287.8.1003

6.     Rabi DM, McBrien KA, Sapir-Pichhadze R, et al. Hypertension Canada’s 2020 Comprehensive Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, Risk Assessment, and Treatment of Hypertension in Adults and Children. Can J Cardiol. 2020;36(5):596-624. doi:10.1016/j.cjca.2020.02.086

7.     Robitaille C, Dai S, Waters C, et al. Diagnosed hypertension in Canada: Incidence, prevalence and associated mortality. CMAJ. 2012;184(1):49-56. doi:10.1503/cmaj.101863

8.     Benjamin EJ, Muntner P, Alonso A, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2019 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2019;139(10):356-e528. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000659

9.     Puhan MA, Hansel NN, Sobradillo P, et al. Large-scale international validation of the ADO index in subjects with COPD: an individual subject data analysis of 10 cohorts. BMJ Open. 2012;2(6):e002152. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002152

10.  Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, Rich R, et al. Pharmacologic Treatment of Hypertension in Adults Aged 60 Years or Older to Higher  Versus Lower Blood Pressure Targets: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(6):430-437. doi:10.7326/M16-1785

11.  Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure. (n.d.). Accessed August 11, 2021. Available from: Published 2020.

12.  Aronow WS, Fleg JL, Pepine CJ, et al. ACCF/AHA 2011 expert consensus document on hypertension in the elderly: A report of the american college of cardiology foundation task force on clinical expert consensus documents. Circulation. 2011;123(21):2434-2506. doi:10.1161/CIR.0b013e31821daaf6


This work is supported through the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and funds provided by the Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. 

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.