New guidelines relating to healthy blood pressure levels from some of the most important medical associations in the country were recently announced. These new criteria have important implications for the health of many Americans because they indicate that many more people may be suffering from high blood pressure than previously known.

Overview of the new blood pressure guidelines

Recently, researchers from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Health Association (AHA) unveiled a new set of guidelines that govern the healthy range of blood pressure in adults. Previously, high blood pressure, or hypertension, was not diagnosed until the patient had a systolic reading of 140 or more, and a diastolic reading of 90 or more.

Now, those thresholds have been lowered, resulting in nearly half of the adult population in the U.S. meeting the new criteria for a hypertension diagnosis. According to the new guidelines, systolic readings between 130 and 139, and diastolic readings between 80 and 89 indicate stage 1 hypertension. Similarly, Systolic readings between 120 and 129, and diastolic readings below 80 indicate elevated blood pressure.

What these changes mean for your heart health

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is crucial for your long-term cardiovascular health. High blood pressure not only increases your risk of heart disease, but it also makes you more likely to develop atrial fibrillation as well. AFib increases the chances that you could suffer a potentially deadly stroke, meaning the new standards for blood pressure are crucial to understand. If you are one of the people who have hypertension based on these new blood pressure guidelines, it’s important to consult with a doctor as soon as possible to determine what kind of treatment is necessary.

Tips for managing high blood pressure

Medication is often used to treat hypertension, but there are also several lifestyle changes that doctors typically recommend that can help stabilize blood pressure. These tips can also be helpful if your blood pressure is in the “elevated” range, also known as pre-hypertension. These activities include:

  • Getting proper exercise
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a reduced-salt diet that includes high amounts of fruits and vegetables

If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants. Dr. Dilip Mathew is board certified in Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology and has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa and Sun City Center for over a decade.