Harvard Women's Health Watch

New blood pressure guidelines released

The way doctors manage blood pressure might change, following new guidelines released in December 2013. The new guidelines, which were based on the most current research and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, raise the threshold for drug treatment of high blood pressure in adults ages 60 and over. They recommend a blood pressure goal in this age group of less than 150/90 mm Hg (the previous target blood pressure was less than 140/90 mm Hg). Yet some experts are concerned that this higher threshold will prevent some people who need blood pressure medicine from getting it. Bottom line: Your goal should be to control your blood pressure first through lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating less salt, exercising, and eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If your numbers are still high, discuss with your doctor your target blood pressure goals—and whether you need to take medicine to achieve them.

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