New Guidelines Mean More Americans Have High Blood Pressure—You Could Be One Of Them
North American Precis Syndicate
You might not see or feel its symptoms, but the
results—a heart attack or stroke—are far from invisible or
silent. Go to LowerYourHBP.org before
it’s too late.
(NAPSI)—The American Heart Association (AHA) and American College
of Cardiology recently announced new blood pressure guidelines that will
change how high blood pressure is detected, prevented, managed and treated.
The big news? There’s a whole new definition for what constitutes
high blood pressure. It’s now considered any measure over 130/80 mm Hg,
rather than the old definition of 140/90.
The guidelines classify blood pressure into different categories,
eliminating the previous pre-hypertension category. They also recommend
treatment based on risk factors such as family history, age, gender and race.
Regardless of your risk or blood pressure level, however, one thing is the
same: Treating high blood pressure starts with lifestyle modifications
including healthy diet, regular exercise, limit or avoid drinking alcohol and
To highlight the importance of keeping blood pressure under control, the
AHA, along with the American Medical Association and the Ad Council, has
launched a new campaign that encourages people to talk with their doctors,
and visit LowerYourHBP.org for tools
and resources to help manage blood pressure.
New Definitions And Classifications
Normal: If your blood pressure
is less than 120/80, it’s considered normal and should be checked at
least once per year. You still need to take care of yourself to help prevent
hypertension or make it easier to control in the future, as blood pressure
can rise as you age. Those with other risk factors for heart disease or
stroke should periodically check blood pressure to ensure their numbers stay
healthy. High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, so people with
uncontrolled high blood pressure might feel fine and think they’re OK.
Elevated: When your blood
pressure’s top number is 120−129 while the bottom number is less
than 80, it’s considered elevated and you need to take action to
preserve your heart and brain health. Lifestyle changes are suggested with a
blood pressure re-evaluation in three to six months. Partnering with your
doctor to create a treatment plan you can stick to lowers your risk for
serious health consequences.
Stage 1: This occurs when your
top blood pressure number is 130−139 OR your bottom 80−89. If you’re
otherwise healthy, the guidelines suggest making healthy lifestyle changes
and re-evaluating in three to six months. If you have other risks for
cardiovascular disease, you may need lifestyle changes plus medication. Your
doctor can use a “risk calculator” to tell you your risk level.
Then, you would re-evaluate every month until your numbers are controlled.
Stage 2: This is when your
blood pressure is at least 140/90. At this level, the new guidelines
recommend you be evaluated by your primary care provider within one month of
your diagnosis. Two types of medication as well as lifestyle changes with a
monthly re-evaluation of your numbers are recommended because the risk of
heart attack or stroke is higher.
Hypertensive crisis: If your
blood pressure is greater than 180/120, you need to act swiftly to bring it
down. This is a hypertensive “crisis” and you should consult your
doctor immediately. Quick management is important to reduce the risk of organ
No matter where you fit within the new blood pressure guidelines, talk to
your doctor to determine your risk and treatment. It’s smart to check
your pressure regularly and stay in touch with your doctor for the best way
to handle any changes.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)