The American Heart Association urges senior citizens with high blood...

The American Heart Association urges senior citizens with high blood pressure to get treated because research shows the benefits of treating hypertension, even in people older than 80, outweigh the risks. Credit: Bloomberg News, 2009

Just because your age is going up doesn't mean your blood pressure has to.

The American Heart Association says 75 percent of women and 64 percent of men older than 70 have hypertension. The AHA notes that despite the array of drugs that can lower blood pressure, many older people are not getting effective treatment. Some doctors shy away from prescribing hypertension drugs for older seniors because they are worried about the side effects.

The AHA urges seniors with high blood pressure to get treated because research shows the benefits of treating hypertension, even in people older than 80, outweigh the risks.

As for the numbers, the organization says seniors 65-79 should shoot for 140 (systolic)/90 (diastolic). People older than 80 should try for a blood pressure reading no higher than 145/90. The AHA says blood pressure problems in seniors generally involve the higher systolic readings.