Will new blood pressure guidelines cost Americans?

15 November, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Wilson Dawson
  • A patient getting blood pressure checked

That's according to new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, which state that 130/80 mm Hg or higher now constitutes high blood pressure, or hypertension.

With the new guidelines, that patient will be "read the riot act" about exercise and healthy eating but the goal will be for them to bring their blood pressure down with those lifestyle changes before prescribing medications, Gandhi said.

Doctor Andrew Calvin of Mayo Clinic Health System says the new guidelines come with the commonality of high blood pressure today.

The guidelines do not change the definition of normal blood pressure as 120/80 or lower.

Thirty-two percent of American adults have high blood pressure under the previous guidelines and that will increase to 46 percent under the new guidelines, the heart association said.

"I think this will encourage both patients to adhere to recommendations but also clinicians to be more vigorous in their attempts to prescribe lifestyle changes", said Dr. Pamela Morris, chair of the ACC's committee on prevention of cardiovascular disease.


A large, government-sponsored study of hypertension patients aged 50 and older showed in 2015 that death from heart-related causes fell 43 percent and heart failure rates dropped 38 percent when their systolic blood pressure was lowered below 120 versus those taken to a target of under 140.

Gandhi recommends that people who are at risk of high blood pressure buy a quality blood pressure cuff that wraps around their arms and to become comfortable taking their own blood pressure readings from time to time and reporting them to their doctor.

Now 46 percent of USA adults will have high blood pressure. The report said: "People with those readings now will be categorised as having either elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or stage 1 hypertension (130-139 or 80-89)".

Damage to blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major U.S. government-funded study of over 9,000 people nationwide.

Experts said the majority of Americans affected won't need medication but will need to make lifestyle changes.

FOX Business reached out to some of the top pharma companies named above but did not immediately receive a comment on how the new guidelines could potentially impact sales going forward.

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