Overnight, 31 million Americans developed high blood pressure simply because a group of “experts” changed a definition.
On Monday, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology announced they had changed the definition of high blood pressure – lowering it from 140/90 to 130/80.
Consequently, if your blood pressure is 130/80, you are now considered hypertensive and should be treated for high blood pressure.
“Normal” blood pressure is still 120/80.
The new definition means that almost HALF of adults now have high blood pressure.
The change was promoted by a government-sponsored study, which reported less deaths from heart-related causes when systolic blood pressure was below 120, versus below the old target of 140. However, the study also reported that patients with a systolic blood pressure of 120 had a significantly higher rate of kidney failure and fainting.
Let me get this straight: The same “experts” who once told us that to avoid heart issues our blood pressure should be less than 140 are now saying it needs to be below 130. But if it gets down to 120 then we are at risk for kidney failure.
That means there is a presumed 10-point sweet spot that we may or may not be able to accurately measure due to problems with measurement techniques, which was also acknowledged in the new guidelines. Hmmm….
Regardless of the legitimacy of the science, the impact of the new guidelines will be enormous. According to Reuters, “Lifestyle modifications are the cornerstone for treatment, but the guidelines also stress that patients assessed to be at high risk of cardiovascular problems will be started on medication.” (emphasis added) That’s good news for pharmaceutical companies that provide hypertension medications, including: Pfizer®, Novartis®, and Merck® (whose stock has been down).
Before you buy into the new guidelines, I encourage you to do your own homework.
Let’s remember that the American Heart Association is the same group the once promoted Cocoa Puffs as a heart healthy food. They once advised Americans to eat Crisco if they wanted to avoid heart disease. Yet, Crisco contains trans fats, which are now essentially banned because of their link to heart disease. And, the AHA is the same group that pushed the low-fat diet craze, which I contend is making Americans sicker (see Chapter 9 in Hands Off My Food!). Everyone has a motive.
It’s up to you to wade through the information, and decide what you are willing to consent to.
5. Full Study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1511939#t=articleTop
6. Guidelines: http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/11/10/HYP.0000000000000065