New guidelines for blood pressure medication

New guidelines for blood pressure medication

High blood pressure (hypertension) affects one in three adults in the United States and contributes to one out of every seven deaths and nearly half of all cardiovascular disease-related deaths in the United States. Approximately 50 million Americans are currently taking medication to keep their blood pressure in check.

However, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends new guidelines for who should be taking medication for high blood pressure. The report offers nine recommendations for managing hypertension. The top recommendation is that patients 60 years of age or older don’t necessarily need medication for blood pressure if their systolic blood pressure (the “top” number) is equal to or less than 150. This is a change from the previous recommendation, which had been to take medication if the number was greater than 140. Physicians typically prescribed medication to make sure patients maintain blood pressures below 140.

The previous guidelines were released over a decade ago, and endorsed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) according to an editorial written in JAMA. The new recommendations “were ultimately not sanctioned by the NHLBI. The panel’s report is now published in JAMA as a stand-alone document, and it remains unclear as to whether, or when, or by whom another consensus national hypertension guideline will again be formulated.”

“High blood pressure, when left uncontrolled, can increase a patient’s risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious vascular diseases,” says Dr. Allison Benthal, an Internal Medicine Physician with Advocate Medical Group. “There are other factors, such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise that are risk factors for high blood pressure. But also hypertension has a genetic component, so some patients may be at greater risk just because of the genes they’ve inherited.”

Dr. Benthal recommends lifestyle changes like exercise and healthy eating as your first line of defense against heart disease. In addition, Dr. Benthal states, “Eat foods lower in sodium; if you smoke, quit; measure and record your blood pressure readings between doctor’s visits; and keep your physician informed of any blood pressure readings you may take at home.”

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  1. Very interesting and informative article. I am a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist of course the main reason see out a massage is to reduce stress (at least for the hour on the massage table)…I believe it I very important to do a medical intake on each client who comes to me for a massage…Have discovered that many of the stress issues my client deal with are medicine challenges and the need to take meds to counteract meds and the beat goes on until they are not ever sure what the original challenges was that they were put on meds to begin with. It is imperative that we each begin doing preventative personal care ant take responsibility for our own, mental, spiritual, and emotional health and STOP running to the doctor of a pill with every unknown symptom one develops…We are a pill taking world and as we all know….a pill does not heal…it only treats a symptom and pills are continuing to be prescribed to counter the side affects. Pills treat symptoms, not the cause. It is our responsibility for find the cause and not be so drugged up that we have no freedom to even know where to begin…just sayin..


  2. My question is ” How do I get of the Blood Pressure Medication?”

    If I am taking minimum dose to control hypertension then is it possible to progressively discontinue blood pressure medication?

    I have done a lot to excercise and am in decent shape for my age(50) I would rather NOT be on these meds……….suggestions welcome!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.