Medical Insight: New Blood Pressure Guidelines – Essentia Health

Medical Insight: New Blood Pressure Guidelines – Essentia Health


SPEAKER: Welcome
to Medical Insight, a weekly health care
feature brought to you by the experts at
Essentia Health. Here’s your host,
Maureen Talarico. MAUREEN TALARICO: Today
on Medical Insight, Dr. Katie Bnezinger, an
Essentia Health cardiologist, explains what you need to
know about new blood pressure guidelines. KATIE BENZINGER: So
high blood pressure is a disease we
call hypertension and it is a silent disease. It generally doesn’t
cause any problems until you’ve had it
for many, many years and it leads to damage
of other organs. MAUREEN TALARICO: Dr. Benzinger
says if left untreated, high blood pressure can affect
the heart, kidneys, and brain. KATIE BENZINGER:
At the end of 2017, the new American College of
Cardiology American Heart Association guidelines for
hypertension were released. And the biggest difference
between prior guidelines was that they
lowered the target. The old targets used
to be 140 over 90, and now the new
target is 130 over 80. This meant that approximately
one in two Americans have high blood pressure. It used to be one
in three Americans. And this is equivalent to
approximately 31 million new people in America
having high blood pressure, with about four million of those
needing high blood pressure treatment now. The rest of them,
really, the guidelines switched the focus
on lifestyle changes. And those lifestyle
changes are looking at making sure you’re getting
adequate physical activity, making sure that you’re
eating a healthy diet, making sure you’re losing
weight and maintaining a normal weight. And so the guidelines
have shifted based on new evidence towards
a more aggressive target and really focusing
more on lifestyle. MAUREEN TALARICO:
Dr. Benzinger says while there are medications
to treat high blood pressure, they are generally
a last resort. The goal is to get people
to have a healthy lifestyle because that is more
beneficial than medicine. She recommends
talking to your doctor and knowing your blood
pressure numbers. For Medical Insight,
I’m Maureen Talarico. SPEAKER: To learn
more about this topic, call our experts at 786-3107.

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