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New Guidelines for Treating Hypertension Implemented

Posted by on May 31st, 2018 Posted in: Aging, Blog, Consumer Health

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“High Blood Pressure” via MedlinePlus.gov, April 23, 2018, Public Domain.

Nearly 1,000 Americans are dying daily from hypertension.  This is one of the reasons cited for the new guidelines released that recommend treating patients for hypertension earlier than previous guidelines directed.

MedlinePlus defines blood pressure as “the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries.”  Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when your blood pressure is higher than 129/79.  Those two numbers represent systolic and diastolic pressure.  Systolic pressure is the first number listed and it represents the force measure each time the heart beats.  Diastolic pressure is the second number listed and this is the pressure measured while the heart is resting between the beats.  The previous guidelines didn’t consider a patient to be hypertensive until their systolic pressure was over 140.

Blood pressure categories in the new 2017 guideline are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 anddiastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 ordiastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 ordiastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that high blood pressure increases your risk for dangerous health conditions:

  • First heart attack:About 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.
  • First stroke:About 8 of every 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
  • Chronic (long lasting) heart failure:About 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
  • Kidney diseaseis also a major risk factor for high blood pressure.

“Achieving the 2017 guideline treatment goals may further reduce 340,000 cardiovascular events and 156,000 total deaths annually compared with the 2014 guideline treatment goals,” said senior study author Dr. Jiang He from the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine.

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