Home Care Enfiled: New Hypertension Guidelines
One day in November 2017, more than 30 million Americans went to sleep with normal blood pressure and woke up hypertensive. No, they did not develop a high blood pressure overnight. What happened was that the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), together with nine other medical and research associations updated the previous guidelines for hypertension, from 2003.
The new guidelines were written by a panel of 21 scientists and health experts who reviewed more than 900 published studies showing that the safe levels of blood pressure are in reality lower than previously prescribed. These studies also point to the fact that people with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 130 to 139, or a diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 80 to 89, are already at risk of cardiovascular disease caused by their blood pressure. In other words, they are hypertensive.
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have two declared objectives in changing the hypertension guidelines:
- Incentive people to adopt more healthy lifestyles;
- Reduce confusion caused by different definitions and terms adopted previously, like “pre-hypertensive”.
"We want to be straight with people – if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it. It doesn't mean you need medication, but it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches.", says Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, FACC, lead author of the guidelines, on the ACC website.
This diagram from the ACC explains the changes:
What does that mean for Senior Care - Suffield
The new threshold for normal levels is reduced from 130 to 120 in the high and 90 to 80, in the low. That means that 30 million Americans who were considered to have normal or “pre-hypertensive” levels are now considered hypertensive stage 1. As a consequence, nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure under the new guidelines published in November 2017.
There aren't still statistics broken down to age, according to the new guidelines. But, as hypertension incidence is higher according to age, it is expected that a vast majority of Americans over 50 and 60 years old are now considered hypertensive. The condition affects equally men and women, as they age.
What does that mean to you?
So, if it happened that your blood pressure was normal when you went to bed but became high when you woke up one day in November (only because the guidelines changed), here’s what it means: you need to improve your life habits to get it where it needs to be and the best way to do it is exercising and eating a healthy diet, with low salt, sugar, and trans or saturated fats.
Here are the recommendations of the American Heart Association:
According to the American Heart Association, a healthy lifestyle will include 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity-or a combination of both. If you need to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, the recommendation is 40 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise, three or four times per week.
The DASH diet
The DASH acronym stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Research studies show that people who adopt this diet are able to lower their blood pressure in under two weeks.
The DASH diet includes
DASH also means limiting
It is also important to reduce the intake of alcohol, limiting it to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
Finally, it is recommended to quit smoking (if you do) and avoid secondhand smoking.
Got something about in-home care, senior care, dementia care or Alzheimer's Care you would like to know? Send us your questions.
The best In-Home Senior Care, Alzheimer's Care, Dementia Care cost-benefit in Suffield CT, Somers CT, Vernon CT, Tolland CT, Enfield CT, Agawam MA, East Longmeadow MA, Longmeadow MA, Hampden MA, and all Western Mass and North Central CT
Call us for a free in-home care consultation:
(860) 698-2244 (CT)
(413) 224-1045 (MA)