High blood pressure, or hypertension, is no laughing matter for adults of all ages. This common condition can negatively impact a person’s health and increase the risk of developing serious health issues including heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease, and more. Knowledge is an important tool in the fight against high pressure. The more a patient knows about blood pressure and how it can be managed, the better prepared they will be to maintain the best-possible long-term health and wellness. This is why the healthcare providers at Family Practice Center in Atl wanted to take some time to present the recently-changed blood pressure guidelines.

A joint study was conducted by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA). According to the updated JNC8 guidelines, the cutoff point for blood pressure that is considered high is 130/80 mm Hg. This is a reduction from the previous standard of 140/90 mm Hg established by the JNC7 guidelines. Although this means that more adults may currently be at risk of developing hypertension, adhering to these new guidelines can help prevent as many as 3.3 million cardiovascular disease events in the US each year.

These new guidelines also address how blood pressure should be measured in order to achieve the most accurate-possible reading for each patient. Healthcare providers are advised to follow these steps in order to achieve the most useful results from blood pressure testing:

  • Instruct all patients to avoid drinking caffeine, working, and smoking for at least 30 minutes before any visit to the doctor’s office
  • Have the patient in a relaxed position (feet on floor with back supported) for at least five minutes before blood pressure test is taken
  • Ensure that the patient has emptied his or her bladder before testing for blood pressure
  • Refrain from talking during the rest period and measurement itself
  • Remove any clothing that is covering the area where the cuff is placed
  • Make sure to use the correct cuff size
  • Ensure the patient’s arm is supported during the testing
  • Position the middle of the cuff on the patient’s upper arm at the level of the right atrium (the midpoint of the sternum)
  • Separate repeated measurements by at least one to two minutes
  • Use the average of at least two blood pressure tests

As time goes on, measurements like what is considered high blood pressure may change. However, what remains constant is the importance of treating your body well and taking a proactive approach to maintaining your physical health and wellness. For more information on blood pressure or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers today, please contact Family Practice Center. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and so much more.