Blood Pressure Guidelines Revised: Time to Have a Discussion with Your Clients

Earlier this week, new guidelines for blood pressure recommendations were published by a collaborative team in the December 2017 issue of Hypertension. Representatives from the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and several other health organizations changed previous guidelines for what was considered to be a high limit for blood pressure, from 140/90 to 130/80. 

Consequently, about half of all American adults now are considered to have stage 1 hypertension – in other words, they are considered to have high blood pressure. Authors of the report urged doctors to counsel their patients about lifestyle changes, rather than being too quick to prescribe medication for treatment. 

As dietitians and certified nutrition practitioners, you may see an influx of client visits and questions related to blood pressure and diet as a result of this change in guidelines, especially if your clients were previously on the higher end of "normal" blood pressure. You might think about incorporating a question about blood pressure into your patient intake form if you aren’t already asking for this information. Suggest to your clients and patients who are at risk of high blood pressure to follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to lower their blood pressure, as it promotes fruit and vegetable intake while minimizing unhealthy fat and sodium in one’s diet. 

What changes might you implement in your practice as a result of these new guidelines? Please share!