Our Commitment: Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 75 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be.
Hattiesburg Clinic’s commitment to caring for the overall health of each patient includes measuring blood pressure during each visit and answering any questions patients may have about his/her blood pressure.
Did You Know…
- 1 in 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure.
- Only half of those with the condition have it under control.
- High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms.
- High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease or stroke.
The definition of high blood pressure recently changed, based on new guidelines by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. The new guidelines lower the definition of high blood pressure – from 140/90 mm Hg to 130/80 – to account for complications that can occur at lower numbers and to allow for earlier intervention. This new definition will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population having high blood pressure, with the largest impact expected among younger people.
Blood pressure categories in the new guidelines are:
- Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
- Elevated: Systolic (top number) between 120-129 and diastolic (bottom) less than 80;
- Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
- Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
- Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
Low blood pressure, although less common, can also pose a risk when symptoms are present. These include dizziness, nausea or fainting.
Fortunately, blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes and, in some people, medication. Controlling high blood pressure is vital to lowering the risk of the damaging effects it can have on the body.
To learn more about the new blood pressure guidelines, click here. If you have questions about your blood pressure or want to know how to control it, please talk to your primary care provider.