Physicians at Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute made the rounds on news stations, at their practices and the community to address the new high blood pressure guidelines and what these changes really mean in practice and prevention.
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) grabbed the attention of consumers and healthcare providers with the recent release of their updated blood pressure guidelines on November 13.
In a nutshell the ACC and AHA redefined high blood pressure and reported the following highlights:
High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for the systolic blood pressure measurement, or readings of 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement. That is a change from the old definition of 140/90 and higher, reflecting complications that can occur at those lower numbers.
In the first update to comprehensive U.S. guidelines on blood pressure detection and treatment since 2003, the category of prehypertension is eliminated.
While about 14 percent more people will be diagnosed with high blood pressure and counseled about lifestyle changes, there will only be a small increase in those who will be prescribed medication.
By lowering the definition of high blood pressure, the guidelines recommend earlier intervention to prevent further increases in blood pressure and the complications of hypertension.
“The new guidelines address hypertension probably earlier that where it begins,” said Eli Friedman, MD, Cardiologist at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute in a video released. “The reason behind it is to get people talking about it sooner rather than later.”