New Blood Pressure Guidelines!
NEW BLOOD PRESSURE GUIDELINES
High blood pressure is redefined after 14 years!
-On November 13, 2017, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines for high blood pressure (hypertension).
-Based on previous guidelines one in three Americans had high blood pressure, but now 14% more Americans will be diagnosed with high blood pressure. Almost half of all Americans -46% -are now considered to be in the high blood pressure category based on the new guidelines.
-High blood pressure is redefined as a reading of at least 130 millimeters of mercury for the systolic (top) number or 80 for the diastolic (bottom) number. Previously, the cutoffs had been a top number of 140 and a lower number of 90.
-The new definition will especially affect younger people, tripling the number of men under age 45 considered to have hypertension and doubling the number of women under age 45 with the condition.
-The new guidelines eliminate the category of “pre-hypertension,” which had been considered an upper reading in the 130s and a lower reading in the 80s.
-The new guidelines put blood pressure readings in five different categories:
• Normal: A top number less than 120 and a bottom number less than 80.
• Elevated: A top number between 120 and 129, and a bottom number less than 80.
• Stage 1: A top number between 130 and 139, or a bottom number between 80 and 89.
• Stage 2: A top number of 140 or higher, or a bottom number of 90 or higher.
• Hypertensive crisis: A top number over 180 or a bottom number over 120.
-If your blood pressure is over 120/80, lifestyle changes are most important, including a diet low in sodium (limit daily intake of sodium to 2000mg) and regular exercise.
-Medications are only beneficial in lowering the risk of heart disease and death in patients with baseline top blood pressure reading of greater than 140.
-The new guidelines recommend earlier interventions to control hypertension and reduce the complications.
-Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years, and more often if you’re 50 or older or have other risk factors for hypertension. It is best to have it checked every time you visit a healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: The information is intended to provide general education for patients and their families. The information provided does not constitute medical or healthcare advice for any individual and is not a substitute for medical and other professional advice and service.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.