Blood Pressure After Heart Problems: New Treatment Guidelines

Blood pressure guidelines set new limits and address factors like obesity, exercise and smoking for blood pressure after heart problems

(RxWiki News) Keeping blood pressure in check is important for avoiding a heart attack — especially if you've already survived one. New guidelines could help doctors and patients keep blood pressure on track after heart problems.

Three medical groups released new joint guidelines for treating high blood pressure in patients who have been diagnosed with stroke, heart attack or heart disease.

“The writing committee reinforces the target of less than 140/90 to prevent heart attacks and strokes," said Elliott Antman, MD, president of the American Heart Association, in a press statement.

The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and American Society of Hypertension issued this statement on blood pressure.

High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Patients usually must make lifestyle changes, see a doctor and sometimes take medicine to treat high blood pressure.

This new statement said most patients should reduce their blood pressure to less than 140/90. However, patients who have diabetes, certain heart problems or narrow leg arteries should aim for 130/80.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The top number is the pressure during a heartbeat. The bottom number is the pressure between beats.

The statement authors advised that blood pressure should be lowered safely and slowly, especially among patients with blockages in their heart arteries.

The statement focused on “the importance of modifying other risk factors for heart attack, stroke and other vascular disease, including abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking,” said Clive Rosendorff, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, in a press statement. Dr. Rosendorff chaired the writing committee.

Dr. Rosendorff and team also noted that in many cases, prescription medicine may be used to lower blood pressure. In particular, beta-blockers (like Sectral and Inderal) lower blood pressure by slowing the heart rate.

The joint statement was published March 31 in the journal Hypertension.

Dr. Rosendorff and team disclosed no funding sources. Some authors disclosed ties to groups like the Mayo Clinic and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Review Date: 
March 30, 2015