New blood pressure guidelines set to treat at-risk patients

BETTENDORF-- New blood pressure guidelines released by the American Heart Association are in place to help treat patients sooner.

This is the first time in 14 years new guidelines have been put in place.

A resting blood pressure of 130 over 80 is now considered too high. Before, patients with the same reading were classified as pre-hypertension and did not require medical treatment.

Dr. Michael Barr from UnityPoint Health Trinity says the new guidelines will help prevent heart attacks and strokes in at-risk patients.

“Blood pressure is fairly asymptomatic. People don't know they have high blood pressure until they take it. So, (the new guidelines) also included home monitoring. People are recommended to monitor their blood pressure a week before your doctor's visit,” says Barr.

Click here for blood pressure categories under the new guidelines.

In the past, one in three U.S. adults suffer from high blood pressure, the new rule raises that statistic to nearly half Americans with high blood pressure.

Doctors are also allowed to medically treat more aggressively.

“If you have stage two (hypertension) which is 140 or higher or greater than 90, then you’re actually starting two medications, so it seems like a much more aggressive approach,” says Barr.

Barr recommends patients to regularly monitor their blood pressure at home before visiting their doctor, this helps ensure an accurate reading.