SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The American Heart Association says nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure. That number jumped dramatically when guidelines from the heart association and ten other health organizations redefined high blood pressure as 130 over 80 late last year. It had been 140 0ver 90 since the early 2000’s. Hear how changes came after data from a study on how lower blood pressure goals affected older people.
Phyllis Leppert has been fighting high blood pressure for more than a decade. She’s taken different medications, she eats right, and exercises. But it’s still a daily battle.
Phyllis shared, “When I have high blood pressure, when it’s over 120 consistently, I feel tireder. I don’t have as much energy. I mean, I kind of sense that it’s not right.”
Now, she’ll have to work harder to make her numbers. Her new suggested lower goal is 120 over 80. Mark Supiano, MD, Geriatrics Investigator at University of Utah Health and Salt Lake City VA Medical Center, was part of the trial that led to the change. It targeted 120 systolic blood pressure, the higher number, for older people.
Dr. Supiano explained, “The major results from the trial suggested that there was a dramatic improvement in benefit for preventing cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. And, in addition, there was a reduction in all-cause mortality.”
Incidence of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease dropped 25 percent in the trial, 33 percent in folks older than 75. The results were so dramatic, the five year trial ended in three.
Dr. Supiano says many patients added a medication to get a lower blood pressure, but none of it caused more negative effects. Both the doctor and Phyllis agree that a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine and that it’s never too late to make changes.
“People need to know that they can change, and if they do change, they’ll feel a lot better,” Phyllis added.
She should know. She’s about to turn 80.
Dr. Supiano’s team is now investigating whether the lower blood pressure will improve cognitive response and potentially lower the chances of conditions like dementia. The new guidelines stress the importance of an accurate blood pressure reading, so doctors and patients should use an automated blood pressure cuff, take multiple readings, and check pressure at home. You can get more information at www.cardiosmart.org/highbp.
Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Jason Ball, Videographer.
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NEW BLOOD PRESSURE GUIDELINES
BACKGROUND: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. It normally rises and falls throughout the day and can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. High blood pressure is also called hypertension. Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. About 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, and about 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension, or blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal but not yet in the high blood pressure range. Only about 54 percent of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. It was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014, which is more than 1,100 deaths each day. High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT: Most people with high blood pressure will not experience any symptoms. It is often known as the “silent killer” for this reason. However, once blood pressure reaches about 180/110 mmHg, it is considered a medical emergency known as a hypertensive crisis. At this stage, symptoms will show things like headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred or double vision, nosebleeds, irregular or forceful beating of the heart, or breathlessness. Treatment for high blood pressure depends on several factors. The doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes if blood pressure is only slightly elevated and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease considered to be small. If blood pressure is moderately high and the doctors believe the risk of developing cardiovascular disease during the next ten years is above 20 percent, the doctor will probably prescribe medication and advise lifestyle changes. With severe hypertension, the doctor will refer you to a specialist.
URINE TEST HELPS LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE: A research team led by Professor Maciej Tomaszewski at the University of Manchester, has shown that a urine test, developed previously in Leicester, leads to a drop in blood pressure in patients who had been struggling to regularly take their blood pressure lowering tablets. Of the 238 patients who underwent the urine test, 73 were not taking their blood pressure lowering tablets on a regular basis. The research team tracked blood pressure changes in the 73 patients who had struggled to take their tablets regularly following their appointment. They noticed that systolic blood pressure fell on average by between 20 and 30 mmHg between the urine test and the final clinic visit. A majority, over 50 percent of patients who underwent the urine test became completely adherent to their prescribed blood pressure lowering treatment and a further 30 percent of patients improved their adherence. “The urine test creates an opportunity for patients and their doctors to discuss the barriers to regular taking of blood pressure lowering medications. The doctors can then act on these barriers and provide the support the patients need to adhere to the treatment regimes,” said Professor Tomaszewski.
* For More Information, Contact:
Mark Supiano, MD Julie Kiefer