WVU Health Report: Blood Pressure Changes - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WVU Health Report: Blood Pressure Changes

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MORGANTOWN, WV -

If you have high blood pressure and are on medication, you may want to talk to your doctor. A new study published early this year by the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests higher blood pressure in older patients might sometimes be acceptable, and may not require intensive medication to reduce it. "The big differences with this set of guidelines were raising the blood pressure goal in patients who are over 60, so our elderly population we're now shooting for a goal blood pressure of less than 150 over 90," said Jon Wietholter from the WVU School of Pharmacy.

Usually, 120/80 is considered normal adult blood pressure.

Here are the two big changes:

  • Typically, patients with diabetes or kidney disease were prescribed medication if their blood pressure topped 130/80. The new guidelines raise the medication threshold for those patients to blood pressure over 140/90.
  • Medication therapy was recommended for patients over 60 with blood pressure higher than 140/90. Now that number has been raised to 150/90.

"We intuitively think a higher blood pressure means worse outcomes," said Wietholter. " But what the committee found when they looked at these trials was that even in patients who were in that 140 range were having similar outcomes to patients that were being treated to a lower blood pressure."

Don't stop or change any medication you're taking without first checking with your doctor. "Lifestyle changes - such as limiting salt, exercising and losing weight - remain as constant and important as ever in controlling blood pressure," according to Dr. Rolly Sullivan from WVU's School of Medicine.