High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140: US guidelines (Update)

November 14, 2017
Half of US adults have high blood pressure in new guidelines
In this June 6, 2013, file photo, a patient has her blood pressure checked by a registered nurse in Plainfield, Vt. New medical guidelines announced Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

High blood pressure was redefined Monday by the American Heart Association, which said the disease should be treated sooner, when it reaches 130/80 mm Hg, not the previous limit of 140/90.

Doctors now recognize that complications "can occur at those lower numbers," said the first update to comprehensive US guidelines on blood pressure detection and treatment since 2003.

A diagnosis of the new does not necessarily mean a person needs to take , but that "it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches," said Paul Whelton, lead author of the guidelines published in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Healthy lifestyle changes include losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, avoiding alcohol and salt, quitting smoking and avoiding stress.

The new standard means that nearly half (46 percent) of the US population will be defined as having high blood pressure.

Previously, one in three (32 percent) had the condition, which is the second leading cause of preventable and stroke, after cigarette smoking.

The normal limit for blood pressure is considered 120 for systolic, or how much pressure the blood places on the artery walls when the beats, and 80 for diastolic, which is measured between beats.

Once a person reaches 130/80, "you've already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure," said Whelton.

"We want to be straight with people—if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it."

People in 40s most affected

Once considered mainly a disorder among people 50 and older, the new guidelines are expected to lead to a surge of people in their 40s with high blood pressure.

"The prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45," according to the report.

Damage to the blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major US-government funded study of more than 9,000 people nationwide.

The category of prehypertension, which used to refer to people with systolic pressure of 120-139, no longer exists, according to the new guidelines.

"People with those readings now will be categorized as having either Elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or Stage I hypertension (130-139 or 80-89)."

Medication is only recommended for people with Stage I hypertension "if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, or calculation of atherosclerotic risk."

The proper technique must be used to measure blood pressure, and levels "should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions," said the report.

"I absolutely agree with the change in what is considered high because it allows for early lifestyle changes to be addressed," said Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

"It is important, however, to realize that the change in the definition does not give course to increase prescription of medications, rather that it brings to light the need to make ," Bhusri said in an email to AFP.

The new guidelines were announced at the American Heart Association's 2017 Scientific Sessions conference in Anaheim, California.

Explore further: Adults without partners monitor their blood pressure less frequently

More information: Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Guidelines Report

Related Stories

Adults without partners monitor their blood pressure less frequently

September 16, 2017
Having a lower education level and no partner is associated with a lower frequency of home blood pressure monitoring, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association's Council on Hypertension 2017 Scientific ...

Blood pressure better controlled with 'MAP' for doctors

September 17, 2017
A quality improvement program designed to better control hypertension in primary care practices notably improved hypertension control in six months, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association ...

African-Americans with healthier lifestyles had lower risk of high blood pressure

June 26, 2017
Among African Americans, small health improvements were associated with lower risk of developing high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension. African Americans who ...

Young adults, especially men, fall behind in high blood pressure treatment and control

August 28, 2017
Young adults, particularly men, lag behind middle-aged and older adults in awareness and treatment of high blood pressure, putting this population at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, according to new research ...

Too many Americans have high blood pressure, doctors warn

February 7, 2017
(HealthDay)—A group of family physicians warns that too many Americans struggle with high blood pressure.

Teens also at risk for organ damage from high blood pressure

September 18, 2017
Organ damage from high blood pressure doesn't only occur in adults; it can also happen in teenagers, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney ...

Recommended for you

Some cancer therapies may provide a new way to treat high blood pressure

November 20, 2017
Drugs designed to halt cancer growth may offer a new way to control high blood pressure (hypertension), say Georgetown University Medical Center investigators. The finding could offer a real advance in hypertension treatment ...

Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?

November 17, 2017
The buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries is an unfortunate part of aging. But by studying the genetic makeup of people who maintain clear arteries into old age, researchers led by UNC's Jonathan Schisler, PhD, have identified ...

Raising 'good' cholesterol fails to protect against heart disease

November 16, 2017
Raising so-called 'good' cholesterol by blocking a key protein involved in its metabolism does not protect against heart disease or stroke, according to a large genetic study of 150,000 Chinese adults published in the journal ...

Popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings may change, damage heart muscle cells

November 16, 2017
Chemicals used to make some popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings—including cinnamon, clove, citrus and floral—may cause changes or damage to heart muscle cells, new research indicates.

New model estimates odds of events that trigger sudden cardiac death

November 16, 2017
A new computational model of heart tissue allows researchers to estimate the probability of rare heartbeat irregularities that can cause sudden cardiac death. The model, developed by Mark Walker and colleagues from Johns ...

Possible use for botulinum toxin to treat atrial fibrillation

November 16, 2017
From temporarily softening wrinkles to easing migraines, botulinum toxin has become a versatile medical remedy because of its ability to block nerve signals that can become bothersome or risky.

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (4) Nov 14, 2017
Sometimes it seems that these regulations are just a measure to sell more drugs by declaring entire sections of formerly 'healthy' people suddenly to 'at risk'.
These "two to three readings on two different occasions" is not what is going to happen in the doctor's office (and the pharmaceutical companies full well know this).
marko
3 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2017
The medicalization of normal health indicators is part of the creeping corruption of the health system by multinational drug companies and other vested interests.

Could it be that general obesity, smoking, inactivity and poor diet have something to do with the morbidity associated with 'prehypertension' blood pressure readings.

That is something a pill wont cure.

Perhaps the pharmaceutical industry should ask itself what has gone wrong with the marketing of opioids.
AlmostClever
1 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2017
At some point when all the rats are dead in the maze, at distance from their rusted, unworn tread mills, the victors will toast, hug themselves, award accolades, rain riches upon themselves, then perish amongst the vagaries of desolation they have wrought and built from the fruits of fools and sots.

However, good advice, for those with a perchance of insight and self determination.

I am now over the previous under.

Oh, bother!
julianpenrod
2 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2017
Another swindle by the drug companies.
Among other things, note, if nearly half the population now are "defined" as having high blood pressure, why aren't there many, many more deaths than there are?
A three part swindle. They tell people they have high blood pressure. The impressionable or hypochondriacal, which seem to be growing in number, do for medication immediately. Those who don't will find there blood pressure not lowing no matter what they do, because older numbers were healthy. Their blood pressures might rise with a healthy lifestyle to the valid older numbers. As a result, though, many will now ask their "doctors" to prescribe them blood pressure medications. The bought-and-paid-for "doctors" will readily cooperate. The people take the medicines. Because they don't need them, the medications will make them sick. They won't make the connection and, instead, go to their "doctor" for more medications to handle the new sickness.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2017
Indeed, all sickness comes from God and is related to personal faults.
Depraved indifference produces cancer; deceit cause heart attacks; back stabbing produces Alzheimers'; pettiness leads to diabetes. And losing faith in God causes sinus conditions. Since all sin comes from not having faith in God, that's why most ailments begin with "cold and fly like symptoms". Even death is not inevitable. If you are doing what God wants done, He will not remove you. Face it, if the craven, self seeking rich and powerful felt death was inevitable, they would be catatonic. They arrange with God that their beleaguering of man will provide obstacles to overcome that so many wouldn't try to conquer on their own. Too, beleaguering others can provide penance for many sins they commit.
johnp
5 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2017
God save us from those who spout off about their god. Especially as I know far more believers than non-believers guilty of those sins you list. Assuming for sake of argument that the Abrahamic god exists, can you find a more horrible creature according to even their own so called holy books. Even though it was meant half humourously, Richard Dawkins' description of god in The God Delusion is pretty accurate.
rosemaryp1793
not rated yet Nov 19, 2017
This has got to be absolute rubbish. If that is the case I have had high blood pressure since the earliest it was take at 18 ..at that time. It was 140/90. It has been close to that all my life and I am 72 now.. so where does all that come from .. I would assume it is just a reason to give out more drugs..

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.