New Definition of Hypertension

New guidelines 2

Hypertension’s New Definition: What does the revision mean for our health? 

Hypertension is generally known as a state of  high blood pressure in which a person faces a continuing force of blood against their artery walls. This pressure is high enough to ultimately cause health problems like heart diseases. Blood pressure is identified by the amount of blood pumped by the heart and also the strength of a person’s arteries to resist blood flow. More literally, blood pressure soars as the heart excessively pumps blood and contracts the arteries.

Since, it is not a physical condition, a person can have a high blood pressure or hypertension for quite a few years without any noticeable signs or symptoms. However, it can sometimes exhibit itself through various symptoms and health concerns like headaches, nosebleeds and shortness of breath.

However, these symptoms often only start showing up after hypertension has reached a severe level.

High blood pressure is referred to as the “silent killer” for a good reason. In fact, it is the second largest cause of heart problems after smoking.

The definition of Hypertension has been recently modified by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) to set a new ceiling rate. According to the new definition a person can be diagnosed with a high blood pressure as their reading reaches 130 mm Hg.

Hypertension after the New Modification

The new guidelines were presented by the ACC and AHA in November 2017, and stressed the importance of using appropriate equipment and approaches to measure blood pressure.

According to the new regulations, blood pressure levels should be based on a standard two to three readings on at least two different occurrences. Below are major highlights of the new definition of hypertension:

  • High blood pressure will be recorded at a reading of 130 mm Hg [the upper or systolic blood pressure], and a measurement of 80 mm Hg will be recorded for diastolic measurement. This is a major change from the previous definition that stated a measurement of 140 over 90 and higher for systolic and diastolic measurements,


  • For the first time since 2003, the classification of pre-hypertension was removed from the stages of blood pressure. Pre-hypertension was previously determined between a systolic blood pressure measurement ranging from 120 to 139 mm Hg and a diastolic range of 80 to 89 mm Hg. However, these calculations will now fall in the categories of elevated and stage 1 hypertension respectively.


  • Since it is projected that only 14% of additional cases of high blood pressure will be included under the new description, there will only be a relatively small increase in those who will require medicine from here on.


  • The new description will largely impact younger people. That is, there will be more cases of hypertension reported in men and women under the age of 45.

By reducing the high blood pressure measurement, the new description recommends intervention well in advance to avoid any further aggravation of blood pressure. Severe hypertension can result in death associated with heart attacks and strokes, so it makes complete sense to  try to control it as early as possible.

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