Ask the Doctor: New High Blood Pressure Guidelines
The American Heart Association released new hypertension guidelines last week - which means some of us have to watch our blood pressure more closely. Learn more in our Ask the Doctor segment.
The American Heart Association released new hypertension guidelines last week - which means some of us have to watch our blood pressure more closely.
Dr. Michael Bloch is the medical director of anti-coagulation and vascular services at Renown's Heart and Vascular Institute.
If you have a question for him, call 858-2222 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
1) WHAT ARE THE NEW GUIDELINES AND HOW DO THEY COMPARE TO THE PREVIOUS?
The new "normal" is less than 120/80. Elevated is now considered a Systolic between 120-129 and Diastolic less than 80. Stage 1 Hypertension is between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89. Stage 2 is Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90. Previous guidelines classified 140/90 mm Hg as Stage 1 hypertension.
2 ) YOU WRITE A MONTHLY COLUMN FOR THE "JOURNAL OF CLINICAL HYPERTENSION"... EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS CHANGE.
High blood pressure should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and with medication, in some cases. It's important to reach more people because even pre-hypertension can lead to complications so this will allow for earlier intervention. The new definition will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46 percent) having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact expected among younger people.
3) ASIDE FROM USING A BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR, ARE THERE OTHER WARNING SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
You can have high blood pressure and experience no obvious symptoms until you experience a stroke or heart attack. In some people, severe high blood pressure can result in nosebleeds, headaches, or dizziness.
4) IF YOU ARE *NOT A CANDIDATE FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE, BUT YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE IS NOW CONSIDERED ELEVATED... WHAT LIFESTYLE CHANGES CAN WE MAKE TO LOWER IT?
Losing weight can make a big difference in blood pressure. The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. A diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products - and limits saturated fat and cholesterol - can lower your blood pressure,too. Boosting potassium can lessen the effect of sodium on blood pressure, too.
5) WHAT CAUSES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? IS IT OFTEN GENETIC?
The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors can play a role in its development including: smoking, being overweight and family history.