New Guidelines Lower Threshold for High Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 46% of U.S. adults are at risk for major health problems from hypertension.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 46% of U.S. adults are at risk for major health problems from hypertension. This statistic is even more sobering considering new guidelines that lower the threshold for what is considered high blood pressure. Issued by the American College of Cardiology and AHA, the revised guidelines define high blood pressure as anything greater than 130 mm Hg systolic/80 diastolic. Under the old guidelines, which defined hypertension as 140 systolic/90 diastolic, 32% of American adults were considered hypertensive.
Of further import to oral health professionals who monitor patients’ blood pressure, the updated guidelines offer recommendations for how to take such measurements. This includes asking patients to rest for 5 minutes prior to taking blood pressure, and that readings be averaged over two visits in order to better determine risk. When applicable, dental teams should also encourage patients to follow up with their primary health care providers.
Underscoring the importance of becoming familiar with the new guidelines, the American Dental Association Health Policy Resources Center estimates that screening for high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol in the dental setting could save the public health care system up to $102.6 million each year.