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New Hypertension Treatment Guidelines Released for Patients with Heart Disease

Hypertension Guidelines

The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and American Society of Hypertension have joined together and issued a statement on treating those with high blood pressure (hypertension) who have also been diagnosed with a form of heart disease, such as stroke or heart attack.

According to the published statement, while a target blood pressure of less than 140/90 is low enough to avoid heart attacks and strokes, a lower target of less than 130/80 may be necessary for those individuals with heart disease who have already experienced a stroke, heart attack, or mini-stroke or have other cardiovascular conditions.

Lowering blood-pressure can be done safely, and the majority of individuals will not experience complications when standard medications are used.  However, the statement recommends that healthcare professionals use caution in patients with coronary artery blockages, advising that blood pressure should be lowered slowly.  It is also recommended not to strive to decrease the diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure to less than 60 mm Hg, particularly in patients over 60 years old.

The written publication offers specific, evidence-based recommendations and contraindications to help clinicians select which anti-hypertensive medications to use in patients with various types of heart disease.  Clive Rosendorff, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the writing committee, professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and director of graduate medical education at the Veterans Administration in the Bronx writes, “In the spectrum of drugs available for the treatment of hypertension, beta-blockers assume center stage in patients with coronary artery disease.”

In addition, effecting blood pressure, beta-blockers also slow the heart rate and reduce the force of cardiac contractions, both of which reduce the heart’s consumption of oxygen. Beta-blockers also increase the blood flow to the heart by lengthening the time between contractions.

Please visit the American Heart Associaion for more information. 

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