New Blood Pressure Guidelines. What you need to know.

Have you been hearing all the talk about the about the new guidelines around high blood pressure? I bet you’re wondering, how do these guidelines affect you and what you need to know about them?

In this post, I will review highlights of the new guidelines so that you can be empowered when you're at the doctor having your blood pressure checked. You’ll know more about your options and how you can work with your doctor for the best treatment for you.

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The biggest impact of the guidelines is the new classification of what high blood pressure actually is. Previously, hypertension was defined when your blood pressure was greater than 140/90.

But now, greater than 130/80 is considered high blood pressure where before that range was just considered prehypertension. This will move all the people who were labeled as having prehypertension into now having hypertension.

The American College of Cardiology says that "the new definition will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46 percent) having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact expected among younger people." 

So what does this mean for this group of people who now have a brand new diagnosis? The good news is that this will not increase the amount of blood pressure medications prescribed, but will reinforce the need for lifestyle changes. Unless you have a high risk of a future cardiovascular event, then non-drug therapies are tried first...aka lifestyle changes.

This new classification should make doctors and patients realize the importance of changing your lifestyle (what you eat and how you move). Because making these changes can literally prevent your numbers from going higher or lower them back to normal.

The new guidelines reinforce the priority and the impact of lifestyle changes. Read more about what causes high blood pressure and what you can do about it here. 

"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."

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Now lifestyle changes start earlier. With the new classification, your blood pressure is considered 'elevated' if it is above 120/80 but less than 130/90.

For the elevated blood pressure category, medications are actually not recommended; rather, a long list of evidence-based, non-drug interventions are.

What are these interventions? Eating a healthy diet high in vegetables and fruit (DASH diet), eating less processed carbohydrates, bad fats, added sugars, and sodium. Increasing activity and losing weight if you have weight to lose. And of course, limiting alcohol intake. Learn more about the DASH diet here.

Grab my FREE Starter Kit to get started making lifestyle changes today. Learn what you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally and track your progress! Click on the image below to download the kit.

If your blood pressure is above 140/90 the recommendations are the same as before. Lifestyle modifications plus medications are needed for control. However, if you have a low risk of a future cardiovascular event you can always work with your doctor and ask to try out lifestyle changes to get your blood pressure lower before medications are started.

The guidelines also reinforce the need for a team approach to control and managing blood pressure treatment.This makes sense, as science supports more and better patient education around self-monitoring, nutrition, and lifestyle changes, as well as stress management.

This is where health coaching comes into play, especially pharmacist based health coaching. In fact, telehealth is emphasized as a cost-effective method of ongoing monitoring that is more convenient for patients than frequent office visits.

In summary, drug therapy is needed if you are at a high cardiovascular risk or your blood pressure is above 140/90 and EVERYONE can benefit from lifestyle changes.

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Wondering what changes you need to make? Want better control and fewer medications? Then let’s get started. Join me for a FREE Blood Pressure Strategy Session where we will go over:

  • Where you're at right now with your blood pressure and the best treatment options for you
  • Your health goals
  • Challenges and set back that you have around reaching your health goals
  • Tips on how to get started lowering your BP with lifestyle changes

Sound good? Great! Fill out this form for a FREE Blood Pressure Strategy Session.