Blood pressure guidelines updated

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Patient-provider communication is vital for healthcare, making it imperative for patients to be aware of healthcare indicators. The American Heart Association has updated blood pressure guidelines. Many more Americans, especially older people, are now diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Here are the new guidelines:

The new high blood pressure level is defined as 130/80 mm Hg or higher. It was previously 140/90 mm Hg. Health problems can occur at much lower levels. The risk of heart attack, stroke and other health issues begins above 120 mm Hg.

Blood pressure in adults has categories; normal, elevated, stage 1 hypertension or stage 2 hypertension. Now the category of “prehypertension” is not used; it was previously referred to blood pressure with a top number (systolic) between 120-139 mm Hg or a bottom number (diastolic) between 80-89 mm Hg. Now people with these readings will be categorized as having Elevated or Stage I hypertension.

Eligibility for blood pressure lowering medication treatment is no longer based singularly on blood pressure level. Patient’s risk of heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years will be considered. Medication will be recommended to people with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg, regardless of risk levels.