New high blood pressure guidelines: Think your blood pressure is fine? Think again …

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association certainly grabbed the attention of us busy primary care physicians with the recent release of their updated blood pressure guidelines. These organizations had piqued interest by declaring the release date and labeling it as “highly anticipated.” I pooh-poohed all that drama, but upon reading through the 114-page executive summary PDF with 21 authors and almost a thousand references, I have to say, I am duly impressed. The definition of the diagnosis of high blood pressure and the decision-making process surrounding treatment have traditionally been quite individualized (read: all over the place). Personally, I invite these stricter measures, because they are accompanied by solid research, logistical guidance, and useful management strategies. However, a whole heck of a lot of people just got pulled into a significant medical diagnosis. Let’s review what’s new. A new definition of high blood pressure (hypertension) (Please note that all numbers refer to mm Hg, or, millimeters of mercury.) The guidelines, in a nutshell, state that normal blood pressure is under 120/80, whereas up until Monday, normal was under 140/90. Now, elevated blood pressure (without a diagnosis of hypertension) is systolic blood pressure (the top number) between 120 and 129. That used to be a vague category called “prehypertension.” Stage 1 high blood pressure (a diagnosis of hypertension) is now betw...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Health Heart Health Hypertension and Stroke Prevention Source Type: blogs

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