New Blood Pressure Guidelines
In November the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new blood pressure guidelines. The new recommendations set numerical categories and use new terminology. The new guidelines are:
- Normal: Under 120 over 80
- Elevated: Top number 120-129 and bottom less than 80
- Stage 1: Top of 130-139 or bottom of 80-89
- Stage 2: Top at least 140 or bottom at least 90
High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms,and many people do not know they have it. High blood pressure, also called hypertension is a common and dangerous condition. A diagnosis of high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. It is estimated that about 1 in 3 adults—or about 75 million people—have high blood pressure. Interestingly, only about half (54%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, but steps can be taken to control your blood pressure and lower your risk.
By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- Eating a healthy diet, lots of fruits and vegetables, and easy on the salt.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Getting enough physical activity, at least 150 minutes per week if possible.
- Not smoking.
- Limiting alcohol use.
Know Your Numbers
There’s only one way to know whether you have high blood pressure—have a health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless. Blood pressure should be checked at least once a year by a health professional, and diagnosing high pressure requires 2 or 3 readings on at least two occasions. Home monitoring with the use of automated devices is also a good way to keep a check on your blood pressure. If you don’t have a device at home, you may always visit one of our FREE blood pressure stations to have your blood pressure checked.