With the new guidelines, millions of Nigerians who once considered themselves high blood pressure-free, now fall under the category of those that are hypertensive and would have to immediately make lifestyle changes.
In an attempt to address potentially deadly conditions in patients much earlier, the American Heart Association presented new guidelines by lowering the defining numbers for high blood pressure. Also on November 13, researchers from Sweden published (paywall) a study in JAMA Internal Medicine concluding that high-blood-pressure treatments for people with upper-number measures of less than 140 were only neutral or “possibly beneficial”, rather than definitively risk-reducing. “It is up to their doctor to reinforce that blood pressure medications are not “as needed” meds, and that in fact the ‘as needed” use of such meds can cause more harm than not taking them at all”.
In a corresponding analysis of the guidelines, led by Paul Muntner, PhD, investigators claim that the 2017 edition of the AHA/ACC guidelines result in a “substantial increase in the prevalence of hypertension but a small increase in the percentage of US adults recommended antihypertensive medication”. Instead, they are meant to prevent people from waiting until their blood pressure is high to begin making lifestyle changes that could reduce their risk of heart attack. The new guidelines are expected to have the biggest impact on people under 45, potentially doubling the rate in women and tripling it in men.
And the guidelines are specific about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle: it starts with the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which promotes fruits and vegetables, low-fat or nonfat dairy, whole grains, and less than 1500 mg of daily sodium intake.
Kids should be checked at least once a year for high pressure, said guidelines announced in August by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Stage 1 hypertension: Between 130-139 for systolic or between 80-89 for diastolic.
“Not all those people necessarily need to be treated with medications, but all need to have lifestyle changes addressed”, Kates said.
Stage 2 hypertension begins at systolic BP of 140 mmHg and diastolic BP of 90 mmHg.
Collier’s pharmacist Trenton Dunn said we could see a few more people being prescribed blood pressure medications.
“We can’t change our sex, our age, or our genetics but we can change our blood pressure”, he said. “Because any time your blood pressure is out of control, you’re at higher risk of injury or death”. But whether your blood pressure reading is in the safe range or not, these are all tips that can help with living a healthy, balanced life – with a happy heart included.
The AHA says the new guidelines are created to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier.
“The idea of taking medications when you feel good can sometimes be hard, but we do ourselves a disservice by not being more aggressive (in treatment)”, he said.
“The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure”, according to the Mayo Clinic.