New Blood Pressure Guidelines!  How Will They Impact You?

Earlier this week an article from CNN popped up in my Facebook feed and I have to admit that I wasn't sure how to interpret the article. The article centered around new recommendations that were recently released in a report from a joint task force from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association following an extensive review of the literature (more than 900 studies). The new recommendation states that if your blood pressure is higher than 130/80 then treatment is warranted. Prior to this recommendation treatment for high blood pressure would typically begin only if your blood pressure was 140/90. Previously, about 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States was being treated for high blood pressure. However, with this change in the recommendations an additional 14% will now have to be treated for hypertension (fancy doctor talk for high blood pressure).  Under these new guidelines, it is estimated that 46% of the adult US population will have high blood pressure. Let that sink in for a minute...

At first blush, I admit, this article did make my blood pressure go up. My immediate reaction was not one that I am proud of. The cynic in me wondered what that would do to the cost of healthcare in this country. I don't know about you but when I saw what our family's health insurance premiums were going to be for next year, I almost fell out of my chair. What would happen if this contributed to another drastic increase in healthcare costs in this country? However, after taking some time to think about the new recommendations I realized that these recommendations will probably save lives. I now see this as an opportunity to change people's habits. If you are anything like me, you would probably do all that you could to avoid taking unnecessary medications. Am I right? So, it is possible that the conversations that people will be having with their doctor about the changes in these recommendations may get them to take their exercise and nutrition habits a little more seriously. And it may even save their lives. 

So the next time that you hear or read something that makes your blood boil, take a moment step back and look for the positive that can come from it (or you might need to start taking blood pressure medicine sooner than you thought)!

Here is a LINK to the article if you would like to read it.
Movement is my Medicine,
Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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