Recently The New England Journal of Medicine www.nejm.org/ *reported that a “blue ribbon” panel recommend looser blood pressure treatment thresholds for older adults.
“…the group recommends that adults aged 60 and older should receive antihypertensive medications if their systolic BP is 150 mm Hg or higher or their diastolic BP is 90 or higher. This is a departure from previous recommendations.
Younger adults should begin drug treatment if their systolic BP is 140 or higher or their diastolic BP is 90 or higher. The 140/90 threshold applies to adults with chronic kidney disease or diabetes as well, also a change.
The guideline features an algorithm to guide physicians through treatment options. Editorialists note that despite previous recommendations to target systolic BP below 140 mm Hg, only about half of Americans with hypertension are below this level. They hint that raising the threshold to 150 in older adults could potentially have significant public health consequences. “
Now that experts have created confusion, we will each have to rely on our primary care physician to determine what to do given the ambiguity over the "evidence." More to follow as efforts are made to clarify the hypertension kerfuffle.
*to read the full NEJM article “New Hypertension Guidelines Emphasize Less Stringent Thresholds” by Kelly Young, highlight and click on open hyperlink http://www.jwatch.org/fw108286/2013/12/19/new-hypertension-guidelines-emphasize-less-stringent?query=pfw
Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.