December 15, 2017 – First Line Treatment
Anchor lead: What can you do if you’ve just been told you have high blood pressure? Elizabeth Tracey reports
130 over 80. That’s the new guideline for defining high blood pressure, or hypertension, and it places many more people squarely into the group who have the condition. Does this mean you need to begin a medication right away? Not necessarily, says Michael Blaha, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins.
Blaha: Importantly the new guidelines don’t suggest that all of these stage 1 hypertensives need to be on medical therapy. You can use diet and exercise and lifestyle therapy first for these patients. The guidelines recommend that those patients with stage one hypertension and elevated cardiovascular risk do start on medications. And really the main part of these guidelines is to raise awareness of the importance of elevated blood pressure and try to get patients earlier before they become extremely hypertensive. And to get those patients in to their doctor earlier to talk about potential medical therapy. :33
Blaha notes that many people in this stage one category will be able to manage their blood pressure themselves by losing weight, changing their diet, and exercising more. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.