The latest guideline by AHA/ American Heart Association says, your Blood Pressure/ BP is high if it’s above 130/ 80 mm Hg. Before 2017, BP above 140/90, was the criteria for diagnosing hypertension/ high BP.
Here are the diagnostic criteria for hypertension, according to the new guidelines of high blood pressure released in 2017:
- Normal: BP within 120/ 80
- Elevated: Systolic BP/ SBP of 120-129 and Diastolic BP/ DBP within 80
- Stage 1: SBP of 130-139 or DBP of 80-89
- Stage 2: SBP of 140-179 or DBP of 90-119
- Crisis: SBP above 179 or DBP above 120
*BP is the pressure at which your heart pumps blood to make sure oxygen and other nutrients reach all your body parts.
*SBP is your blood pressure when your heart has pumped oxygenated blood.
*DBP is your blood pressure when blood is entering your heart, after which, your heart pumps blood.
Why is there a change in new guidelines for high blood pressure?
The change in criteria is to facilitate early intervention and to account for complications which can happen at earlier numbers of BP. The guidelines were updated based on the results of several studies conducted on BP, its effect on the heart, steps to prevent high BP, and improve the overall health. Heart diseases and early death are few of the complications of high BP.
Diagnosis of high blood pressure
According to the new guidelines for high blood pressure, if your BP is more 130/80, on more than two occasions, you are hypertensive. It’s important to test your BP when you are rested for at least five minutes. This is crucial because different emotions and levels of physical activity can raise your BP. Checking BP out of office or at home can give you more accurate readings.
Treatment according to the new guidelines for high blood pressure
If you are in stage 1 hypertension, your treatment begins with lifestyle modifications. However, if you are in stage 1 and also in the high-risk group, your doctor may start antihypertensive medicines. You are at high risk if you have a history of heart attack or stroke and diseases such as diabetes.
Lifestyle modifications to prevent, control, and treat high blood pressure
Moderate intensity exercises such as walking suit everyone. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you do not have any other health issues, your doctor may ask you to start with any physical activity that you enjoy, for instance, jogging or dancing. Regular physical activity helps to control BP. It can also normalise your BP says the latest research.
- Minimise salt intake. Have potassium-rich foods such as spinach.
- Have more of high fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Drink at least two litres of warm water a day.
- Try to shed few pounds.
- Try to quit smoking.
- Minimise your alcohol intake.
- Try to reduce stress by an advance planning and few alternative approaches such as meditation and yoga.
Each of the above-mentioned lifestyle changes helps you reduce your SBP by 4 to 5 mm Hg and DBP by 2 to 4 MM Hg. Diet changes can help you reduce BP by 11 mm Hg!
If you fall in the stage 1 BP and are following lifestyle changes, check your BP after 3 to 6 months. If you have stage 2 BP and above, meet your doctor regularly. These measures help you avoid complications.