• By Dana Sparks

New Guidelines for Management of High Blood Pressure

December 18, 2013

Caucasian man in light blue shirt having his blood pressure checked with a blood pressure cuff

Hypertension is the most common condition seen in primary care and leads to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death if not detected early and treated appropriately. New guidelines released online by JAMA today offer nine recommendations and a treatment algorithm (flow chart) to help physicians treat patients with hypertension.

Sandra Taler, M.D., a nephrologist at Mayo Clinic and a panel member appointed to the NIH Eighth Joint National Committee, says, “Guidelines are increasingly based on evidence derived from clinical research rather than from expert opinion. These guidelines are based on a careful independent review of the highest quality clinical trials in hypertension and focus on treating those patients most likely to benefit from treatment while avoiding over treatment that may increase the risk for side effects.”

She adds, “In general, the blood targets have not changed for the general hypertensive population under age 60, to keep BP below 140/90 mm Hg.  For those 60 or older, the targets have changed to less than 150/90 mm Hg based on strong trial evidence.  For those with diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease, the previous lower targets of less than 130/80 mm Hg have been increased to less than 140/90 mm Hg. The recommendations give providers four classes of drugs from which to select starting treatment for hypertension without limiting preference to a single class as done in the previous guidelines.”

More information can be found in the 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults.

 Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Taler are available in the downloads.

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