Many of you may have heard through the media recently that there has been a change to the joint American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) guidelines for hypertension (high blood pressure).
Based on recent clinical trials, the need for stricter control of hypertension as well as earlier intervention has become more apparent. In the previous guidelines, hypertension was defined as persistent readings greater than or equal to 140/90 (stage 1; stage 2 starting at 160/100).
Under the new guidelines, stage 1 hypertension now begins at greater than or equal to 130/80 and stage 2 begins at greater than or equal to 140/90. There is now a category known as “elevated blood pressure” which is from 120-129/<80.
Those individuals falling into these categories all have heightened risks of cardiovascular disease (normal blood pressure is considered <120/80). As we typically don’t diagnose hypertension based on a single reading, it is important to check your blood pressure at home or at the store on a regular basis and record those values for your medical provider to make a determination as to what category you generally fall into.
Regardless of what category of blood pressure you fall into, lifestyle management, including diet and exercise, is highly important. There is more great information available at the AHA’s website at www.heart.org. If you haven’t seen your primary care provider recently, it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment soon to have your blood pressure and cardiovascular risk fully evaluated.