Heart1.com: Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Register
 Login
 Main Page
 Heart News
Feature Story
 Education Center
Conditions
Procedures
Diagnostics
 Heart Attack Center
Prevention
Survivors
Dr. Tod Engelhardt  Heart
 Hero™

Dr. Tod Engelhardt:
Combating Major Blood Clots.
About Heroes
 Join the Discussion  in  Our Forums
 Community
Heart1 Forums
Patient Stories
 Reference
Online Resources
Video Library
advertisement
Search the Body1 Network
April 05, 2020  
HEART NEWS: Feature Story

  • Print this Article
  • Email this Article
  • Links/Reprints
  • U.S. Changes Blood Pressure Guidelines

    U.S. Changes Blood Pressure Guidelines


    May 14, 2003

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Millions of people who thought they had healthy blood pressure are about to get a surprise: The government says levels once considered normal or borderline actually signal "prehypertension," and those people must take care to stave off full-blown high blood pressure.

    It's a major change, in new federal guidelines being released Wednesday, that affects people with blood pressure as low as 120 over 80 - once thought to be a good level but now considered not good enough.

    About 45 million Americans are in this prehypertensive range, says the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which issued the new recommendations. The change comes from recent scientific studies showing the risk of heart disease begins at blood pressures lower than previously thought.

    Also in the guidelines:

    -Most people who already have high blood pressure will need at least two medications to control the dangerous disorder.

    -For the majority of patients, one of those drugs should be a cheap, old-fashioned diuretic.

    -Blood pressure is measured as two values and the first, or top, number in the reading is the most important for anyone over age 50 - something too few doctors and patients understand. If nothing else, that number should be below 140.

    The guidelines overall urge doctors to be far more aggressive in treating hypertension, noting that almost a third of people with high blood pressure don't even know it. Plus, two-thirds of diagnosed patients don't have the disease under control - too often because doctors hesitate to prescribe a second or third medication, said Dr. Daniel W. Jones of the American Heart Association, a co-author of the guidelines.

    An estimated 50 million Americans have high blood pressure, often called the silent killer because it may not cause symptoms until the patient has suffered damage. It raises the risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, kidney damage, blindness and dementia.

    High blood pressure measures 140 over 90 or more. That level hasn't changed.

    Until now, optimal blood pressure was considered 120 over 80 or lower; normal was up to 130 over 85; and levels above that were called borderline until patients reached the hypertension range.

    But the new guidelines classify normal blood pressure as below 120 over 80 - and readings anywhere from 120 over 80 up to 140 over 90 as prehypertensive.

    "We hope it's going to catch people's attention," Jones said of the new prehypertension category. "This is not to alarm people but simply deliver the message that ... they are at higher risk for going on to develop hypertension and they need to take action."

    That doesn't mean medication. Instead, people with prehypertension should lose weight if they're overweight, get regular physical activity, avoid a salty diet and consume no more than two alcoholic drinks a day. All those factors increase blood pressure, the guidelines say.

    Recent scientific studies show that risk of heart disease actually begins rising once blood pressure creeps above 115 over 75, said guideline co-author Ed Roccella, a hypertension specialist at the heart institute.

    There's a doubling of risk for each 20-point rise in the top number, called the systolic pressure, or 10-point rise in the bottom number, the diastolic pressure.

    "Most of us will have hypertension if we live long enough," said Roccella. The hope is that if people know they're prehypertensive - even if they're a skinny 20-something with 120 over 80 readings today - they'll make wiser lifestyle choices and thus stave off the blood-pressure creep that comes with age.

    The guidelines will be published in next week's Journal of the American Medical Association, but because of their importance are being released early online Wednesday.

    ---=

    On the Net:

    JAMA: http://www.jama.com

    Federal hypertension info: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp


    Last updated: 14-May-03

    Comments

  • Add Comment
  •    
    Interact on Heart1

    Discuss this topic with others.
     
    Feature Archives

    Heart Disease Patients Need to Exercise to Benefit from the Protective Effects of Wine

    Effective Treatment for Heart Failure Possible Following Discovery of Heart Molecule

    Significant Decrease in Heart Disease after Prison Smoking Bans

    Heart Failure Patients Who Sleep Poorly Are at Double the Risk for Hospitalization

    Long-Term Survival Possible for Pediatric Heart Transplant Patients

    Next 5 Features ...

    More Features ...
       
     
    Related Multimedia

    Plaques/fatty deposits as a cause for a heart attack

    The risk of cardiac death due to a lower ejection fraction

    The function of a defibrillator

    More Features ...
     
    Related Content
    Meditation Impacts Teen Blood Pressure

    Report Urges Americans to Reduce Sodium

    Study: Test Own Blood Pressure, Stop Meds

    Study: Drinking May Help Heart Patients

    Study: 1 in 3 Adults Has Hypertension

    More Features ...
     
    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    advertisement
    © 2020 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.