Doctors Advise To Know Your Numbers

Published: Dec. 26, 2017

The American Heart Association's new blood pressure guidelines, released last month, lower what’s considered high blood pressure from 140 over 90 to 130 over 80. Those with pressure between 120/80 and 130/80 now are considered elevated.

As startling as the change might seem, however, local doctors say it’s really a recognition of what medical professionals have known for some time: that the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular impacts begins even before a person reaches the high blood pressure mark.

Those newly added to the ranks of people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, won’t necessarily start medication right away, however. Instead, a doctor’s first focus will be on lifestyle, encouraging patients to cut salt, eat a more heart-healthy diet and get adequate exercise. 

"We’re not just going to throw medicines around, as much as we want to get heart-smart behavior and diet,” said Dr. Thomas Brandt, a cardiologist with Methodist Physicians Clinic.

Omaha World-Herald reporter Julie Anderson: New Blood Pressure Guidelines Could be "Wake-Up Call" for Some