News / Health

Blood Pressure Guidelines Revamped

A man is pictured having his blood pressure checked.
A man is pictured having his blood pressure checked.

Related Articles

Video Mobile Clinics Bring Health Care to South Africa Countryside

Significan lack of medical facilities in rural areas being overcome by new solar-powered initiative

Novel Gene Therapy Reverses Heart Disease in Animals

Researchers poised to begin human clinical trials of therapy to treat a major cause of heart disease by shrinking enlarged hearts

China Investigating New Deadly Bird Flu Strain

Researchers say 73-year-old woman died from new strain called H10N8 shortly after visiting poultry market in Jiangxi Province
VOA News
For the first time in decades, experts have raised the threshold for what is considered dangerously high blood pressure for people aged 60 and over. As a result, patients may be prescribed fewer drugs to treat hypertension.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common condition seen in primary care and leads to heart attacks, kidney failure, and death if not detected early and treated appropriately.

A government-appointed panel that made the recommendations stressed that they are not changing the definition of high blood pressure, which currently is 140 over 90 but that for adults aged 60 and older, they are recommending a higher treatment threshold, prescribing medicine only when blood pressure levels reach 150 over 90 or higher.

In older people too much high blood pressure medication can cause fainting and falls, the panel said. Furthermore, medication to treat high blood pressure could react negatively with other medications.

For younger patients, treatment recommendations remain unchanged.

"This report takes a rigorous, evidence-based approach to recommend treatment thresholds, goals, and medications in the management of hypertension in adults,” the study says.

According to Paul James, professor and head of family medicine at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and co-chair of the panel making the recommendations, past guidelines from the last several decades “have been based on consensus by experts.”

“These  [recommendations] were based on scientific evidence from randomized controlled trials,” he said. “Expert opinion was used only in the absence of scientific evidence.”

The panel reviewed numerous past studies from January 1, 1966 to December 31, 2009, as well as major, eligible studies that took place between December 2009 and August 2013.

The review focused on adults age 18 and older with hypertension and included studies involving diabetes, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, heart failure, previous stroke, chronic kidney disease, proteinuria, older adults, men and women, racial and ethnic groups, and smokers.

Panelists also looked at methods of controlling high blood pressure, including what medication should be started in patients with hypertension; what blood pressure goal should patients achieve to know they are enjoying proven health benefits from their medication and what are the best medication choices to reach the goal blood pressure.

The recommendations are not without controversy.

According to the Associated Press, the American Heart Association is raising concerns about the new recommendations, saying that many of the studies reviewed didn't last long enough to reveal dangers of undertreated high blood pressure in older patients.

The guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dexter Carson from: Canberra Australia
December 19, 2013 6:28 PM
Well this old fart of 76 years has been on BP medication for over 30 years. My BP is 120/75 and I attribute survival to my age to this medicated control. It is a bit late to say perhaps I should not have reduced my dosage, AFTER you have the stroke!!

by: thepoliticalcat from: California
December 19, 2013 12:39 PM
20 - 30 minutes per day of moderate to fast-paced exercise (meaning, a walk around the block) will lower your blood pressure as effectively as almost any drug. It will also greatly improve your health and your looks. Instead of advising our elderly to take yet another drug, let's try to teach them healthy habits. They need it just as much as our youth.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs