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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid