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Local docs endorse new BP standard

Two local physicians say new blood pressure guidelines are a step in the right direction.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association in November announced new comprehensive guidelines for evaluating blood pressure that is expected to drastically increase the number of Americans who have hypertension. The committee that drafted the new guidelines lowered the blood pressure range of what is considered normal. That means people whose blood pressure used to be considered prehypertension, or high normal, will now be considered elevated blood pressure, or stage 1 hypertension.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association estimate that the change will affect more than 31 million Americans.

Dr. Padmashree Velury, Southwestern Primary Care, said the last guideline change came about in 2003 and a new update was needed.

"Also, they did a lot of studies on hypertension," Velury said. "Based on those studies, the new guidelines were published in November 2017. I started using them in December.

According to Velury, 120/80 is considered normal; 120-129 and any diastolic pressure above 80 is considered elevated; 130-139 is considered stage one hypertension.

"You start treating blood pressure if the cardiovascular risk is 10 percent or higher," Velury said. "It's calculated based on various risk factors like age, blood pressure, sex, smoking, diabetes. All these risk factors are calculated about 10 percent, then we go ahead and start the blood pressure treatment with medication."

The Lawton Constitution

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