In November 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association published new guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). This directive broadens the definition of hypertension and recommends that it should be treated more quickly.
The result of these new guidelines, this equates to a requirement to treat almost half of the adult population in America for high blood pressure. Which at present is significantly higher than the UK’s statistics of one in three adults in the UK having high blood pressure. In England, 31% of men and 26% of women have high blood pressure.
However, perhaps the expansion in the classification of high blood pressure could relate to the fact that half of people with high blood pressure in the UK are not diagnosed or receiving treatment. In England alone, there are more than five million people that are undiagnosed.
In the revised guidelines, hypertension is defined as blood pressure values = 130 mmHg systolic over 80 mmHg diastolic. Whereas at present the figures are at 140/90 (or 14/9)
It is emphasised that these figures must be the average of at least two measurements on at least two occasions. More emphasis is also placed on home blood pressure measurement, in order to prevent, among other things, white-coat hypertension and blocked hypertension.
Immediately starting a drug treatment (in addition to adjusting the individual’s lifestyle) is recommended:
Up to now, this was from 140/90 mmHg. Diabetics and patients with chronic kidney disease are always counted among patients with a strongly increased cardiovascular risk.
These recommendations apply to all ages.
As target values, <130 mmHg systolic over <80 mmHg diastolic are recommended. This certainly applies to patients with a strongly increased cardiovascular risk, but also to patients with a low cardiovascular risk.
Up to now, target values of <140/90 mmHg have been proposed.
In a commentary on these new American guidelines, the Belgian Center for Pharmacotherapeutic Information (BCFI) argues against the extension of the current European standards for treatment of hypertension in line with the American figures.
In particular, there are insufficient scientific arguments to justify the increase in the number of patients that should be treated according to these new criteria.
The existing European guidelines for the treatment of hypertension (which may be revised in 2018) are as follows:
The target value is slightly higher for people over 80: systolic blood pressure 140 to 150 mmHg; for vulnerable elderly, the target values should be determined individually, depending on the tolerance of the patient.
It is recommended, therefore, to discuss with your general practitioner the desirability of home measurement, and to purchase a device with advice from the general practitioner and pharmacist.
Calibration defines the accuracy and quality of measurements recorded using a piece of equipment. Over time there is a tendency for results and accuracy to ‘drift’ particularly when using particular technologies or measuring particular parameters such as temperature and humidity. To be confident in the results being measured there is an ongoing need to service and maintain the calibration of equipment throughout its lifetime for reliable, accurate and repeatable measurements.
The goal of Medical Calibration Services is to minimise any measurement uncertainty by ensuring the accuracy of test equipment. Calibration quantifies and controls errors or uncertainties within measurement processes to an acceptable level.
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 Health Survey for England 2015
 British Heart Foundation, Cardiovascular Disease Statistics Factsheet UK, 21 June 2017
 Public Health England, Health matters: combating high blood pressure, January 2017