New Blood Pressure Numbers: 130 Is Now High, Doctors Say
These new guidelines were formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology following the review of more than 1000 research reports which most importantly included data from a federal study published in 2015.
- 130/80 are now the numbers that define high blood pressure.
- Previously, high blood pressure was defined as 140 mm Hg or higher for the systolic measurement and 90 or higher for the diastolic measurement.
- The findings mean that an additional 14 percent of U.S. adults, or about 30 million people, will now be diagnosed as having high blood pressure, compared with the number diagnosed before the new guidelines. This will bring the total percentage of U.S. adults with high blood pressure to 46 percent, up from 32 percent previously.
- the guidelines stress that, for most of the newly classified patients, the recommended treatment will be lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss and changes in diet and exercise levels, as opposed to medications.
- Researchers also now know that people with a blood pressure between 130-139/80-89 mm Hg have double the risk of cardiovascular complications, compared with those with normal blood pressure
- The new guidelines recommend that doctors only prescribe blood pressure medication for patients with stage I hypertension if they have already had a cardiovascular "event" such as a heart attack or stroke; or if they are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke based on other factors, such as the presence of diabetes
- People with stage 1 hypertension who don't meet these criteria should be treated with lifestyle modifications. These include: starting the "DASH" diet, which is high in fruit, vegetables and fiber and low in saturated fat and sodium (less than 1,500 mg per day); exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week; and restricting alcohol intake to less than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women
- Stage 2 hypertension should be treated with a combination of lifestyle modifications and blood pressure medications.
Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise can help many patients lower blood pressure. But many of the newly diagnosed are likely to wind up on drugs,.
This is a big change that will end up labelling many more people with hypertension and recommending drug treatment for many more people.
P.S. I hear the healthy skepticism re possible involvement by pharmaceutical companies and these new guidelines. It is key to note here that these new guidelines are based on more than 1000 research reports and it seems mainly on the federally funded 2015 Sprint study. The New York Times goes into more detail about this study - see www.nytimes.com/
If you'd like to read the actual
/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults
A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines" go to:
This is a PDF article and the link to it is at the top of the page.