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New Standards for Measuring Blood Pressure

By Stephen R. Farris

I remember back in the early 1990s when I was a hefty 300-plus pounds. During about a five-month span I dropped a little over 100 pounds through exercise and changing the way I ate, and the time of day I would eat -- nothing consumed after 6 p.m. 

I was feeling good after dropping the weight and had more energy too. It even lowered my blood pressure. One day, I visited my doctor. He took my blood pressure and it measured out to approximately 110/70. Of course he raised an eyebrow and questioned me about what I had been doing to lose the weight. I told him I got divorced!

That part was true and I just couldn't resist throwing in a little sarcastic humor with old doc. 

Ravages of Time

Fast forward 10 years later and old habits seem to resurface (no, not the ex) in which I've added a lot of extra pounds again, plus my blood pressure has become borderline on the high side. Thankfully, no medication for it, but I try to do things to keep stress levels low and eat more nutritious foods. Of course I could use a little more exercise, but my knee and hip seem to say otherwise, hence getting older.

In today's measurements, that 110/70 would be considered the new standard of a normal blood pressure reading. More like 110/75 is considered normal, but it would have fallen right in. 

According to research, increments of 20/10 push you closer to cardiovascular disease. Of course, there are instances when your blood pressure runs a little higher than normal and doctors understand this, but the overall goal is to maintain the normal standard in which they go by.

New Guidelines

In 2017, the AHA (American Heart Association) set new blood pressure measurement guidelines. Now, anyone that has a reading of 130/80 will be considered as having high blood pressure, versus the old reading of 140/90. The 130/80 reading is now considered stage I hypertension, while 140/90 has elevated to stage II hypertension.

The new AHA guidelines suggest to doctors prescribing medication should be done if the person is at risk for heart attack, stroke, or certain conditions or risks due to age and chronic kidney disease to name a few.

To point is, go have your blood pressure checked to see what range you are in. It might also be the time to make some lifestyle adjustments for your health, like eating right and exercising more.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wichita, Kans.

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