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New blood pressure guidelines released

Published On: Dec 20 2013 06:07:09 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 20 2013 07:03:52 PM EST

Doctors say 80 percent of heart attacks can be prevented.

Doctors say 80 percent of heart attacks can be prevented.

Now, the guidelines to follow for one major factor, blood pressure have changed.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the numbers for high blood pressure screenings have changed.

The study says among older Americans, there was no evidence the previous numbers were iron clad.

Stated risks associated with lowering blood pressure can sometimes outweigh the benefits.

Doctors say everyone should take note of the new standards.

"For any patient greater than 60 years old the new recommendation is that blood pressure goals should be less than 150/90 and that medicines should be instituted for anyone over that threshold," said Dr. Amy Ahnert with Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Ahnert says the old standard of 140/90 still applies to those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease and people under the age of 60.

But Ahnert says patients now taking medication shouldn't misinterpret the change in numbers as a sign their treatment should change.

"Even though the numbers have been slightly shifted it doesn't mean blood pressure treatment is not important and it does not mean that patients should stop their medicines," said Ahnert.

Ahnert says the calculation of systolic and diastolic blood pressure continues to be a powerful diagnostic tool in preventing a heart attack or stroke.

If you want to get your blood pressure checked you can go to your gym or a health fair.

You can also go to your local pharmacy where they have machines, or buy a cuff, take it home and do it yourself.

Doctors say high blood pressure is something you should have checked at least once in your twenties and then as recommended.

Factors like eating habits, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking are just a few of the ways doctors say you can help keep high blood pressure in check.