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New Guidelines For Blood Pressure Treatment Concerns American Heart Association President.
By: Patrick Mansfield | U.S. Health Alerts

new guidelines for Blood Pressure.

New Guidelines For Blood Pressure Treatment Concerns American Heart Association President.

A guideline published by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians suggests less aggressive treatment for adults over 60 who may have hypertension, but the president of the American Heart Association has expressed concern over this recommendation. 

The guideline explains that people over 60 who don't have a history of cardiovascular disease should only be treated for hypertension if their blood pressure is at or above 150/90. They also state that individuals should try to make lifestyle changes, including exercise and a healthy diet, before using medication to lower blood pressure. However, the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College of Cardiology all recommend that people seek treatment for high blood pressure if their blood pressure is at or above 140/90, and they suggest more aggressive treatment.

Around 80 million adults in America have high blood pressure. This condition creates an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Dr. Steven Houser, the AHA's president and the Chair of Physiology at Temple University, says, "We are concerned that this review does not take into account the extensive body of evidence supporting the benefit of adequate blood pressure control in other patients with hypertension, especially in the prevention of heart failure and stroke, both outcomes that greatly reduce patients' quality of life."

Dr. Houser said that the new guideline includes many positive aspects. It emphasizes that high blood pressure is a risk factor for other conditions, and it encourages the careful measurement of blood pressure. Dr. Houser's primary concern is that the guideline recommends hypertension treatment at 150/90 rather than 140/90. Making efforts to reduce blood pressure once it reaches 140/90 is very important for reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

The president of the American College of Physicians, Nitin S. Damle, M.D., disagrees with Dr. Houser. He says, "The evidence showed that any additional benefit from aggressive blood pressure control is small, with a lower magnitude of benefit and inconsistent results across outcomes."

Dr. Houser also mentioned his concern that raising the blood pressure requirement for hypertension from 140/90 to 150/90 would cause people to believe that high blood pressure isn't a dangerous issue. This false sense of security may stop people from seeking treatment for high blood pressure when they should. Dr. Houser says, "With the recent suggestion of a slowing in the decades-long, steady decrease in death rates, we just can't afford to back off on our efforts to control this major risk factor."

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are collaborating to write a new comprehensive guideline that addresses the management of hypertension. Other organizations contributing to the panel include the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Preventative Medicine, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American Geriatric Society, the American Pharmacist Association, the National Medical Association, the American Society of Hypertension, and the Preventative Cardiovascular Nursing Association. The guideline should be released in 2017.

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