What You Need to Know About the New Blood Pressure Guidelines

Judging high blood pressure now has different guidelines heading into the future.  A panel of experts have changed a few things and put them into the newly published Journal of the American Medical Association.  Here are the things you need to know…

Older Americans might not need treatment for hypertension.  Americans over the age of 60 will have different levels in which they could be treated.  In order to be treated the systolic blood pressure (the top number of the reading) is now judged on anything over 150 instead of the previous 140.  Likewise, treatment could occur if the diastolic number (the bottom of the reading) is 90 or above.

Drugs should no longer be relied upon to lower blood pressure readings.  Using drugs to lower blood pressure to more healthy readings has shown that it still does not reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.  Medications prescribed before deciding treatment should take place can still be taken by the patient assuming it keeps them on a healthy regimen.

Adults under 60 have previous guidelines raised as well.  Those younger adults will now be monitored at 140/90 and anything above could result in treatment.  This is an increase in ten from the previous 130/90.

A healthy diet is still recommended to keep levels down.  Doctors are still prescribing healthy diets and exercise.  Low-sodium diets have been recommended as well as emphasizing eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

First forms of treatment should include one of four drugs for someone new to high blood pressure:  angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, thiazide-type diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.  These are more specific from the previous guidelines that only prescribed diuretics before.  Of these four, African-Americans are also recommended to be prescribed calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors first.

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