In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association Task Force got together, reviewed a bunch of data, and came up with new guidelines and a more streamlined treatment strategy. This was done to help practitioners better recognize and manage patients that have higher readings so that they can (hopefully) get better control of their levels. Hypertension and heart disease, are on the rise and we need to do what we can to get control of it. The very first step of this is to become aware of the numbers.
Quick Guide to Blood Pressure
This is what those numbers mean:
- The top number is the SYSTOLIC number. It’s always the larger number. This number tells you how hard the heart is pumping. It measures the force it uses to get the blood through the body.
- The bottom number is the DIASTOLIC number. It’s always the smaller number. This tells you how much the heart is able to relax between beats. This is important because you want the heart to be able to relax.
Now that you know what the numbers mean, here’s what you need to know.
- NORMAL: Less than 120 / 80 (normal used to be classified as less than 140/90)
- ELEVATED: 120 – 129 / Less than 80
- Hypertension Stage 1: 130 – 139 OR 80 – 89. Either the Systolic number OR the Diastolic number in these ranges will cause you to be considered stage 1 hypertensive
- Hypertension Stage 2: 140 or more OR 90 or greater. If your pressure is on or above either of these numbers, then you are considered a State 2 Hypertensive.
- Hypertensive Urgency: If your blood pressure reaches above 180 AND / OR over 120 without evidence of new or worsening organ damage (blood pressure is high but your organs are not being damaged) this is considered hypertensive urgency.
- Hypertensive Emergency: If your blood pressure reaches above 180 AND / OR over 120 WITH evidence of new or worsening organ damage, you are considered to be in hypertensive emergency. If this happens, you need to go to the hospital immediately for continuous monitoring and treatment. Because your organs are being damaged, you run the risk of ver quick decline to your health.
First step is to KNOW YOUR NUMBERS! If you don’t already do so, begin to take your blood pressure on a regular basis. Hypertension is called the “Silent Killer” because many people walk around with high numbers and don’t know. Check regularly.
Next, if you find your numbers fall anywhere outside of “normal”, then see your practitioner as soon as possible. Don’t ignore it. Your practitioner can work with you to help get and keep your numbers down so that you are not as at risk for adverse events.
We need you to be healthy. We need you to be HERE for as long as possible and be as strong as possible while you are.
If you’d like more information on the new guidelines CLICK HERE for the American Heart Association’s handout.
If you would like a more holistic approach to managing your health, CLICK HERE to contact me. Let’s chat about how we might be able to work together to help you reach your health goals.