What the New Blood Pressure Guidelines Mean for You

Doctor measuring adult blood pressure with new guidelines

Recently, the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and other organizations released new blood pressure guidelines, lowering the high blood pressure threshold from 140 over 90 to 130 over 80. UnityPoint Health cardiologist, Timothy Martin, MD, FACC, answers simple questions about what this change means for you.

Why Were the Blood Pressure Guidelines Changed?

These guidelines reinforce how blood pressure is tied to possible risk for other conditions. Getting people’s blood pressure to these lower levels actually helps prevent more heart attacks and strokes.

What Should I Do If I’m Now in the High Blood Pressure Category?

If your blood pressure is higher than 130 over 80, exercise, try to get to your ideal body weight, avoid sodium and talk to your doctor about how taking medication could possibly help you reach lower blood pressure.

Does This Change Mean I’ll Be Put on High Blood Pressure Medication?

We still prescribe blood pressure medication on a case-by-case basis, depending on individual situations. Some people may only need to make lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. If you have stage 2 high blood pressure, which is 140 over 90, you might need more than one medicine to help reduce toward the lower goal.

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