A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

New guidelines for high blood pressure: 3 things to know

High Blood Pressure

New guidelines mean that nearly half of U.S. adults now meet the criteria for having high blood pressure.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have created new guidelines for defining high blood pressure. The new guidelines are based on extensive research and clinical trials over the course of several years.

The Guidelines

According to the American Heart Association, “People with readings of 130 as the top number or 80 as the bottom one now are considered to have high blood pressure…. High blood pressure used to be defined as 140/90. The change means 46 percent of U.S. adults are identified as having high blood pressure, compared with 32 percent under the previous definition.”

Managing high blood pressure

Dr. Siddhartha Kattamanchi, a Marshfield Clinic Health System nephrologist, said many of his patients have asked what these new guidelines mean for their health. He emphasizes with his patients the importance of not smoking, healthy diet and weight management. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), sleep apnea and obesity make controlling blood pressure difficult.

Medication may be used to help control blood pressure, but Kattamanchi stressed that medicines should be combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet for the best results.

“If you don’t limit your salt intake, the medications we put you on will be much less effective,” Kattamanchi said.

Talk with your provider

The causes of high blood pressure are many, including genetics and lifestyle factors. High blood pressure can lead to many health complications, including heart attack and stroke. If you have questions about your blood pressure and heart health, talk with your provider.

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