new high blood pressure guidelines

A recent study by the American Heart Association assessed the impact of the new blood pressure guidelines implemented in 2017.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is defined as a systolic blood pressure over 140mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure above 90 mmHg. This condition is strongly associated with the increased incidence of stroke, which has a high rate of mortality. These conditions have been controlled by the availability of accurate pharmacological treatments that reduce the causes of both hypertension and stroke. Blood pressure awareness has been a key factor in decreasing the number of stroke patients.

In 2017, the American Heart Association created new blood pressure guidelines for hypertension making the cut-off for systolic blood pressure 130mmHgand diastolic blood pressure above 80 mmHg. The reduction in the cut-offs for blood pressure were supported by the improved conditions of patients who had other health issues as a direct symptom of increased blood pressure.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in June 2018, researchers assessed the effects of 2017’s new blood pressure guidelines on stroke survivors by comparing the new guidelines to the older high blood pressure guidelines, known as the Joint National Guidelines Seventh Report (JNC7).

To compare the effects of these guidelines, the researchers analyzed data from more than 6 million people older than 20 years old who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which were conducted over a period of 10 years between 2003 and 2014.

They found that the 2017 American Heart Association’s new blood pressure guidelines would diagnose about 67% more stroke survivors with high blood pressure. This could help lower the mortality rate from 8.3% to 5.3% if the new blood pressure guidelines are applied.

Written by Dr. Apollina Sharma, MBBS, GradDip EXMD


  1. Lekoubou A, Bishu K, Ovbiagele B. Nationwide Impact of the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Blood Pressure Guidelines on Stroke Survivors. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018;7(12).
  2. Following new blood pressure guidelines could prevent deaths among stroke survivors [Internet]. American Heart Association. 2018 [cited 20 September 2018]. Available from:
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