New Blood Pressure Guidelines—What Do They Mean?

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The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, issued new blood pressure guidelines in November 2017, for the first time in 14 years.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to the heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.

DP Suresh, MD Medical Director for the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular, and Chairman for Health Strategies for American Heart Association for Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware, feels the guidelines are more in line with the way cardiologists manage blood pressure today.

He said, “The new guidelines don’t come from a single clinical trial. They were created by many physicians studying a large amount of data about blood pressure and heart disease.”

The new guidelines change the definition of high blood pressure that needs treatment with medication from 140/90 to 130/80. By lowering the definition of high blood pressure, the hope is physicians will begin intervention earlier intervention to prevent damage to the heart from complications of hypertension.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Dr. Suresh feels the new guidelines will lead to better overall health of Americans. He said, “90 percent of hypertension is treated by the primary care doctor. By lowering the guidelines on what high blood pressure is, we will be able to get people on blood pressure medications earlier. Doing that is proven to reduce the long-term risks and complications from heart disease.”

With the high rate of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in the United States, it is considered a public health concern. These guidelines are meant to lower that health concern and keep people out of the hospital.

Dr. Suresh recommends everyone, “Know your blood pressure, check it regularly, and work with your doctor on a plan to keep it at a healthy level, including reduced salt, 30 minutes of exercise/five days a week, and adding medications when necessary.”

If you need help finding a primary care physician, visit St. Elizabeth Physicians, or call (800) 737-7900.