TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Under new guidelines for blood pressure, approximately 46 percent of American adults have high blood pressure. The doctor who lead the group that developed the new guidelines says the goal is to give individuals better control over their health, and help clinicians make better diagnoses.
Blood pressure categories under the new American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines:
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
Dr. Paul K. Whelton, who lead the group that developed the new guidelines, recently spoke to a group of medical professionals at DCH Regional Medical Center. Whelton wants people to know that in most cases, they can make a difference in their blood pressure.
"The underlying problem for high blood pressure in 90 percent of people is diet and physical activity," Whelton said. "Our diet is not what it should be, and most of us don't exercise enough. That's really a fundamental problem, and it's the fundamental approach to managing the problem."
Whelton says doctors and patients should work together to determine the best approach in each individual case.