High Blood Pressure Now Begins at 130, Not 140 – American Heart Association


In their recently released guidelines, the American Health Association has announced the redefinition of high blood pressure. It states that “high blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for the systolic blood pressure measurement, or readings of 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement.”

This limit adjustment from 140/90 to 130/80 is due to the country’s recognition that complications can occur at those lower numbers. The moment a person achieves a 130/80 reading, he/she has already doubles their risk for cardiovascular complications. The normal limit for blood pressure is now lowered to 120/80.

The AHA hopes that this alteration will promote lifestyle adjustments at an earlier stage for those at risk. Paul Whelton, the lead author of the guidelines, said, “We want to be straight with people – if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it.”

35 Million Filipinos with Hypertension

The Philippine’s Department of Health has yet to decide if we’re to adapt these new guidelines.

Currently, 25 million Filipinos are hypertensive. If we’re to follow the USA’s revised classification, 10 million more Filipinos would be categorized as hypertensive. This would bring the Filipino hypertensive population to 35 million.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had recently voiced out his personal support for the limit adjustment. He clarified that “it does not necessarily mean that the diagnosed person with a 130/80 reading must immediately resort to medication. There are many healthy lifestyle interventions that could be adapted to prevent the rising of blood pressure.”

His sentiments were echoed by Dr. Anthony Leachon, cardiologist and president of Manila Doctors Hospital. “The age group that are at risk of hypertension is getting younger and younger. A lot of the patients that went through a weight gain now experience a rise in cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and a whole lot more complications.” He emphasized the importance of proper education on hypertension.

To lower the risk for hypertension it is advised to have regular blood pressure checks. This is especially important for those who have diabetes, heart disease, or a family history of high blood. Salty foods and vices should also be avoided. A half an hour’s worth of exercise every day can effectively aid in normalizing blood pressure levels.