Under the old guidelines, about 3 out of 10 Americans were seen as having high blood pressure. Now, nearly 5 out of 10 Americans qualify as having either stage 1 or stage 2 high blood pressure based on the revised groupings. However, experts note that
treatment recommendations are not the same for all patients with high blood pressure.Experts urge patients with stage 1 high blood pressure at low risk for developing heart disease to adopt healthy lifestyle changes as their first line
of treatment. These include:
However, lifestyle changes plus medicine are recommended in patients with stage 1 high blood pressure who are at higher risk of heart disease. How is your risk measured? The ASCVD risk calculator is used to assess the chance you will have a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years. It takes into account:
Experts also stress the importance of treating other issues that can cause high blood pressure, such as kidney disease and drinking too much alcohol. In these cases, it’s important to treat the cause of the issue behind the blood pressure, rather
than the blood pressure alone.
The new guidelines highlight the need for regular monitoring and correct readings for patients with or at risk of high blood pressure. Monitoring your blood pressure at home can be useful for patients, especially for those whose blood pressure
varies a great deal. For example, patients might have:
Home blood pressure monitoring is especially useful in such patients, as it more accurately reflects a patient’s health and guides more effective treatment.
As always, it’s important to talk with your health care professional about your care and treatment. Here are some questions you might ask at your next health visit:
Read the full text of the guidelines in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: "ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults."