New Blood Pressure Guidelines

The American Heart Association has announced new blood pressure guidelines.

What does this mean for you?

Usually, when new guidelines for blood pressure are announced, what is really happening is that the bar is being lowered to make more people who were healthy a minute ago be hypertensive now.

I call it “The Patient-ification” of healthy Americans.

By the prior guidelines, you would be diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) if you got readings (usually three consecutive, but I have heard of someone being handed a prescription for Norvasc after one high reading) of 140/90 or higher. Now the guidelines have dropped the range to allow doctors to diagnose you with hypertension if your blood pressure reading is higher than 130/80. Seriously, now “nearly half of American adults” will be considered to have high blood pressure.

*Please note: when you are having your blood pressure checked, make sure the correct size cuff for your arm is being used, or else you will get a false reading. Some people need the large adult size cuff rather than the standard size. Some adults actually need a pediatric cuff to get an accurate reading. Here is a video to demonstrate how to tell what size you need:

This means that the drug companies now have a brand new pool of people to which they can market their blood pressure medicines. 

Not interested in being medicated for your blood pressure? There is a list of ten things you can do to help yourself improve your  numbers from the MayoClinic.  These suggestions will give you some guidance about how you can begin to take control of the day-to-day decisions you make that may impact your blood pressure.

You won’t be surprised to learn that this list includes healthy eating, adequate exercise, reducing caffeine and sodium, and stress reduction. Oh, and could it be possible that you are still a smoker?

“So what, are you, like, the last member?” Quit smoking already!


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