Medical

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Mean Yours Might be Too High Now

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Mean Yours Might be Too High Now

High blood pressure should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some patients with medication - at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 - according to the first comprehensive new high blood pressure guidelines in more than a decade. "The average person is on 2-2 ½ blood pressure pills to control". The top number is known as the systolic rate, measuring the pressure on your blood vessels when the heart beats.

The new goal strikes "an appropriate balance between efficacy... and safety", for those who will be asked to take more medications that can have side effects such as dizziness and falling, said Bob Carey, vice-chair of the guideline committee and a professor of medicine and dean emeritus at the University of Virginia Health System School of Medicine.

For the past 14 years, high blood pressure has been defined as 140/90, and approximately one in every three people in the US are now diagnosed under this measurement.

Robert M. Carey, M.D., vice chair of the guideline writing committee, said he expects some controversy over how the report treats older adults.

As for patients with elevated (120-129/ 80 mm Hg) blood pressure or Stage 1 (130-139/80-89 mm Hg) who are otherwise healthy, the guidelines say they should make healthy lifestyle changes. The Association now generally recommends that patients with Stage 1 hypertension only be prescribed medication in the event of a heart attack or stroke, and they're also recommending that pharmaceutical companies combine multiple blood pressure drugs. If blood pressure reaches 180/120 or higher - and either number in the blood pressure reading counts - people will be classified as in hypertensive crisis with need for immediate treatment or hospitalization.




Potentially deadly high blood pressure can be brought under control with a wide array of medications, many sold as relatively cheap generics.

The changes are expected to drastically impact adult Americans: revising the hypertension threshold downward will increase the percent of USA adults living with high blood pressure from 32 percent to 46 percent - almost half of the adult population. "Masked hypertension is more sinister and very important to recognize because these people seem to have a similar risk as those with sustained high blood pressure". Men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women and blacks are more likely than whites. Home readings can also identify "masked hypertension", when pressure is normal in a medical setting but elevated at home, thus necessitating treatment with lifestyle and possibly medications. She is medical director of Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation at St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana. Normal blood pressure still will be considered 120 over 80. They were written by a panel of 21 scientists and health experts who reviewed more than 900 published studies.

"They are based on strong evidence", Whelton said.

Stage 1: Systolic between 130 and139.

The update by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association is based on a three-year review of nearly 1,000 studies. This is called diastolic pressure. Ferdinand is a professor of Clinical Medicine at the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute and said rates of hypertension are even higher in the South than in other parts of the country.


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