New Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines Announced

The American Heart Association (AHA) has announced new blood pressure treatment guidelines that will change the way high blood pressure (HBP) is diagnosed and managed in America. HBP is now defined as a systolic measurement of 130 and higher, or a diastolic measure of 80 and higher. Previously the blood pressure definition was set at 140 and 90 respectively.  By lowering the definition of high blood pressure, the guidelines recommend earlier intervention to prevent further increases in blood pressure and the complications of hypertension.  High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking.   The guidelines will replace the 2003 guidelines published by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health entrusted the AHA and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) to produce the first comprehensive guideline update in 14 years.