New Blood Pressure Guidelines: How High Is Too High

Blood Pressure Readings

(DrCutler) Millions of Americans who have been told that they have blood pressure in an unhealthy range may now have their diagnoses revoked and fall into the normal range of classification, according to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Blood pressure measurements below 120/80 have previously been the standard for optimal blood pressure rankings.
However, the researchers found that data from more than 13,000 survey respondents showed no increased risk of death among young adults who had diastolic readings (DBP) 20 points higher than what was considered to be normal, and older adults whose systolic pressures (SBP) were elevated by 20 additional increments.
Significantly higher rates of premature death were only found in participants who were over the age of 50 and had SBPs more than 140 and younger subjects who had DBPs greater than 100.
"We believe considering this kind of approach represents a critical step in ensuring that diagnoses are given only to those with a meaningful elevation in risk, and targeted towards individuals most likely to benefit," lead study author Brent Taylor said.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the cause of more than 56,000 deaths in the United States per year.