You may have heard news in the last couple of weeks about the American Heart Association releasing new guidelines about doctors categorize blood pressure levels. So what does this mean for you? Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, tells us what it all means.
What’s different about the new guidelines?
Nurse Rose: According to the new guidelines, nearly half of all Americans – 46 percent – are now considered to have high blood pressure. The big change:
- Previously 140/90 was considered the lower limit for high blood pressure that requires treatment
- Now, 130/80, which was previously considered “healthy,” is categorized as Stage 1 hypertension, or high blood pressure that requires treatment
What does that mean if my blood pressure is around 130/80?
If your blood pressure is 130/80 or higher, your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure, such as regular exercise or eating healthy.
Why is blood pressure important?
Nurse Rose: Blood pressure is an extremely important indicator of your heart and overall health. In-fact, high blood pressure is second only to smoking for causing preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke.
What are some ways to keep a healthy blood pressure?
Nurse Rose: Some people have high blood pressure due to genetics, meaning they inherited it from a family member. However, these lifestyle changes can give you a leg up when it comes to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
- Get an annual physical
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes about five day per week
- Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium and saturated fat, and high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine
- Do not smoke
A healthy blood pressure is one great way to keep your heart in shape.