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AMA Statement on New Guidelines for Measuring Blood Pressure

In light of the new guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults, the American Medical Association (AMA) is renewing its call to all American adults to monitor their blood pressure levels and take the necessary steps to get their high blood pressure—or hypertension—under control.

Based on the latest available science, the American Heart Association (AHA)/American College of Cardiology (ACC) guideline now considers high blood pressure as measurements persistently at or above 130 systolic or 80 diastolic. While this means that nearly half of all Americans are now classified as having high blood pressure, it is important to understand that for the majority of newly classified patients with high blood pressure, the recommended treatment will be lifestyle changes, not medication.

High blood pressure can often be managed effectively when patients work with their physician to create a treatment plan that focuses on healthy lifestyle changes such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, reducing salt intake, drinking alcohol in moderation, losing weight if overweight, and using anti-hypertensive medication when needed. We encourage people to take action today to get their blood pressure under control by adopting a treatment plan that can help them prevent the lasting, negative health impacts of uncontrolled high blood pressure, including heart attack and stroke.”

Improving the health of the nation is a top priority for the AMA. In collaboration with the AHA and TEDMED, the AMA will be hosting a Facebook Live Grand Rounds discussion with two of the lead authors of the new blood pressure guideline and other experts this Wednesday at 4 p.m. CDT to ensure physicians have the information they need to treat patients using the new guideline. This intimate discussion is part of our ongoing efforts to make sure patients are empowered to take an active role in their health and support our nation’s physicians with the latest evidence-based information and resources they need to help manage their patients’ high blood pressure.

The AMA will continue to further our efforts aimed at reducing the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

By David O. Barbe, M.D., President, American Medical Association

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