New Blood Pressure Rules
You may have heard Dr. Oz, other celebrity doctors, or even your own doctor preaching about maintaining your systolic blood pressure (pressure when your heart contracts) below 115 milliliters of mercury and diastolic pressure (pressure between heart beast) below 70 ml mg. These pressures are fantastic if you can maintain them, but are they really necessary? If you have been told your blood pressure is too high, read on.
Recent studies claim that may not be necessary and that your blood pressure could be higher and still pose no health risk. This can mean delaying or avoiding taking blood pressure medications reducing potential side-effects from these drugs.
It has been over one year since experts convened by the National Heath, Lung, and Blood Institute have come out with the new recommended blood pressure targets, but many doctors have not adopted them.
High blood pressure is a serious health problem in the United States. Heart disease is the number one killer. High blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The ideal blood pressure is still 120/80 regardless of what Dr. Oz believes. Lower is better. But if your blood pressure is 120/80 or less, it is considered normal.
Until the new targets were announced, experts agreed medication was necessary when a person’s systolic blood pressure repeatedly measured 140 or the diastolic 90 mm Hg. For people with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the goal lower (130/80) because they are more vulnerable to heart attack or stroke.
Now, the recommendation is 150/90 for adults age 60 and older. and 140/90 for people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Several groups including the American Heart Association have not endorsed the new targets. This is interesting since another analysis in the British Medical Journal suggests drug treatment is not necessary until systolic pressure reaches 160 mm Hg. Raising the target for high blood pressure means fewer prescriptions for blood pressure drugs and lower revenues for doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Treating high blood pressure is lucrative and profitable even though most drugs are generic and can cost less than $30 pre month.
American Heart Association Blood Pressure Categories
The following table lists the AHA categories used by many doctors to classify blood pressure.
Under the new rules, stage 1hypertension would begin at 150 instead of 140.
For Moderately Elevate Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is moderately elevated, you may not need drugs to control it. Before you begin drug therapy, confirm the diagnosis.
Your blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day and due to anxiety and stress.
Try lifestyle changes first including:
- Losing weight
- Reducing sodium
- Exercising more
- Drinking less alcohol
- reducing anxiety and stress
If you blood pressure is 150 to 160 for adults 60 and older and 140 to 150 for everyone else, consider drug therapy if you cannot reduce your blood pressure after six months of series lifestyle changes.
If you need drugs, ask your doctor what blood pressure level he or she hopes to achieve. Doctors may prescribe several drugs each with potential side affects. For older adults if can be dizziness increasing their risk of falls.