New Guidelines for High Blood Pressure

Dr. Paul Whelton is among one of the cardiovascular specialist that recently changed the standards for what we call hypertension.  For many years the standard of 140/90 for a blood pressure meant you had high blood pressure or  hypertension.  Now the standard is 130-139 for systolic (top Number) or 80-89 diastolic

(bottom number) for Stage 1 hypertension.  Lowering the numbers does not necessarily mean getting more medications.  The cardiac specialists still see lifestyle

modifications as a cornerstone of treatment of hypertension such as losing weight, reduce salt intake to less than 1500mg per day (1 tsp. is 2,325 mg), increase potassium to 3500mg per day, physical activity for 30 minutes  3x per week, and limit alcohol intake  to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 or less for women per day. 

So, getting a proper blood pressure reading by your clinician is very important.  Here are some suggestions from Dr. Whelton.


-Sit in a chair, feet flat on the ground, legs uncrossed, with your back supported and without talking for at least 5 minutes before you get your blood pressure


-Empty your bladder before your blood pressure is taken.

-Roll up your sleeve so that the cuff rests on bare skin, not clothing.


-Exercise, consume caffeine or smoke within 30 minutes of your test.

-Sit or lie on the exam table.  This can result in a falsely low blood pressure reading.

-Let your arm dangle or rest in your lap during the reading.  It should be supported on a surface such as a desk.

Both arms should be read if the blood pressure is high and the next time the reading should be from the arm that showed the higher blood pressure.

Our blood pressure varies throughout the day and so a single reading does not automatically mean you have high blood pressure. 

Nurse Yoly