New Blood Pressure Guidelines

— Written By

There are some new blood pressure targets and treatment recommendations as reported by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. I want to take a brief moment to provide the main takeaways from these guidelines. First, let’s lay a foundation about high blood pressure (hypertension). The force of blood against your blood vessel walls is higher than it should be and could cause damage to arterial walls. Blood pressure is written in a sequence of two different numbers. The number on top is the systolic pressure and this is when the heart beats. The bottom number is called the diastolic pressure and this number represents the heart at rest. A blood pressure reading is 120/80 for adults. High Blood Pressure is known as a “Silent Killer” because it usually has no signs or symptoms when it attacks the heart or brain.

Risk leading to developing High Blood Pressure.

  • Things you can control
    • Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke
    • Diabetes
    • Overweight and obesity
    • High cholesterol levels
    • Diet high in sodium
    • Physical inactivity
    • High consumption of alcohol
  • Things you cannot control
    • Family health history
    • Race/ethnicity
    • Increasing age
    • Gender
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Obstructive sleep apnea

Major changes to the guidelines

  • Elevated or what used to be prehypertension is no longer 130/80 but it is now  120-129/80.
  • Hypertension stage one is 130 to 139/ 80 to 89 compared to the previous guideline of 140/90.
  • Hypertension stage one is now 140/90
  • Focus on accurate measurements
  • Focus on self-monitoring
  • New treatment recommendations that include lifestyle changes as a priority.

What can you do to decrease your chances?

  • Diet modifications such as the recommendations included in the DASH(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
    • High fruit and vegetable consumption
    • low in sodium
    • low in saturated fatty acids
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Engage in physical activity on a regular basis.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.