Ever since the American College of Cardiology (ACC) & American Heart Association (ACH) came out with new blood pressure guidelines in 2017, many have discovered that their blood pressure averages may put them into a category in which medications are recommended.
With the new guidelines, patients whose BP readings from 130-139/80-89 are classified as having Stage 1 hypertension. Those with BP readings from 140-149/90 or greater are classified as having Stage 2 hypertension. This distinction promotes the recommendation of lifestyle changes (i.e. diet & exercise) when someone has Stage 1 hypertension and starting someone with Stage 2 hypertension on BP medications. If someone has had a cardiovascular (CVD) event like a stroke or a heart attack in the past, they could be started on BP medications with Stage 1 hypertension readings.
Why is this important and how will it affect cardiovascular outcomes over the next 10 years?
Researchers from the University of Utah looked at retrospective data from 2011 through 2014 to “estimate the number of CVD events prevented and treatment-related serious adverse events incurred over 10 years among U.S. adults with hypertension achieving 2017 ACC/AHA guideline-recommended BP goals versus current BP levels.”
What they found was that reaching BP goals set forth in 2017 by the ACC/AHA will prevent around 3 million cardiovascular events in the next 10 years. When compared to the BP guidelines established in 2003 by the Seventh Joint National Committee Report and 2014 Eighth Joint National Committee, the more aggressive ACC/AHA guidelines will prevent a large number of strokes and heart attacks but could also lead to up to 3.3 million more adverse events (e.g. hospitalizations, allergic reactions, emergency room consultations, angioedema).
Why is BP Important?
If you have high blood pressure, it is very important to get it under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts one at risk for heart attacks, stroke, congestive heart failure, vision loss, aortic dissection, kidney failure, sexual dysfunction, etc.
If you have not been screened for high blood pressure or are having issues getting it under control, call our office at 404.888.0228 or visit our website to make an appointment.
Jeremiah Robinson is a licensed and certified Physician Assistant at T. Douglas Gurley MD in Atlanta, GA.