New Blood Pressure Guidelines: How These Changes May Affect You

source: BBC via Getty Images / Alamy

Whenever I go to my doctor, she always tells me that for someone my age who has such an active lifestyle, my blood pressure is quite high. Now, I worry that my blood pressure will be even higher when I see her next. Why? Because as of recently, there are new blood pressure guidelines that will likely have an effect on you, too.

source: BU Today /

The American College of Cardiology reveals that the new blood pressure guidelines lower the definition of high blood pressure to account for complications that can occur at lower numbers and to allow for earlier intervention. They go on to explain that this new definition will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46%) having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact expected among younger people. Additionally, the prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45.

Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are as follows:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

Although you might be worried about what this means for your own blood pressure reading, these changes were implemented in order to detect, manage, and treat heart attack and stroke more effectively and during earlier stages. Overall, these changes will only benefit our health, and there are many things you can do to ensure your blood pressure stays at a “normal” reading. If you have any questions or concerns about your blood pressure or these new standards, consult with your doctor.