The leading cause of death for both men and women in our country is heart disease. It is paramount that we take steps to make sure our heart is healthy. That means that we must routinely break out the blood pressure cuffs and assess our heart health. Before you do, there are a few changes that you should know.
For the first time since 2003, the American College of Cardiologist and the American Heart Association have announced new blood pressure guidelines that alter the way we determine high blood pressure.
It is possible that some confusion may occur when considering how these changes will affect you. To help you understand the new guidelines, White-Wilson Cardiologist, Dr. Rodney Powell, explains these changes and what they mean for you.
“Understanding blood pressure guidelines can be confusing,” Dr. Powell said. “However, these guidelines are an important tool to measure your heart health.”
Here are the new guidelines offered by the American Heart Association:
- Normal – Systolic under 120 and diastolic under 80
- Elevated – Systolic of 120-129 and diastolic under 80
- Stage 1 Hypertension – Systolic of 130-139 or diastolic of 80-89
- Stage 2 Hypertension – Systolic of at least 140 or diastolic of at least 90
- Hypertensive Crisis – Systolic of at least 180 and/or diastolic of at least 120
“We are learning more and more about the effects of elevated blood pressure,” explained Dr. Powell.
“The new standards emphasize the importance of these levels and encourage patients and physicians to intervene earlier, before damage to the heart and cardiovascular system occurs.”
By knowing the guidelines and monitoring your numbers, you can better understand your risk for heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease and the many other disorders brought about as a result of high blood pressure.
“Finally,” reminded Dr. Powell, “it is important to speak with your cardiologist or primary care physician about how these new guidelines specifically relate to you.”
Dr. Rodney Powell M.D., FACC, FSCAI is a board-certified cardiologist at White-Wilson Medical Center. He is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty certification in Cardiovascular Disease.
Dr. Powell is accepting new patients at the White-Wilson Cardiology Clinic in Fort Walton Beach. To learn more about Dr. Powell or to schedule an appointment, call 850-863-8294.