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Blood Pressure Goals

As with all things in medicine, there is much debate about ideal blood pressure goals. 120/80 or under 140/90?

And as with all things in medicine, it’s an individualized approach. Some patients have enough risk that a 120/80 value makes the most sense.

The current standards consider normal values under 120 systolic and 80 diastolic values.

Avoiding hypertension is an important part of ensuring proper Heart Health and avoiding strokes, heart attacks, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, and kidney disease.

One common problem in Western Medicine is that kidney disease is diagnosed too late, and the guidelines for renal function are rather vague. Better tests than serum creatinine are available.

Current Approach to Blood Pressure Checks

My patients have their blood pressure checked when they come into the clinic. Or worse, they check their BP at home when they have a headache, feel dizzy, or have nausea.

At best, in this current approach, we measure someone’s blood pressure only 2-3 times per year. At worst, we check blood pressures when they likely will be high due to pathologic factors.

So, the old method is outdated. It uses too little data or dirty data, which prevents a proper decision from being made.

Average Blood Pressure Readings

In comes the average blood pressure. This is a far better approach and method to guestimate someone’s baseline blood pressure.

Baseline, meaning this is the blood pressure they are walking around with when not stressed, when not doing a strict meditation routine.

The goal for this blood pressure should definitely be low – closer to 120/80. This is according to the SPRINT trial.

The average blood pressure can be taken with a cuff set to inflate every 30 minutes using a timer. Your doctor can also prescribe an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, which achieves the same automatically.

Interventions That Lower the Blood Pressure

When you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up. Logically, if you can calm yourself down, your blood pressure should and does indeed decrease.

Blood pressure goals can be achieved with lifestyle changes alone, including weight loss, dietary changes, stress management, better sleep, and correcting underlying pathology, such as sleep apnea.

The next step is medications. There is a lot of fear when it comes to medications, and it’s understandable. Big pharma can’t always be trusted—perhaps—but they do some good, as well.

The only way to know whether the risk of taking prescription medication for hypertension is justified is to understand your overall Heart Health risk.

It’s important to understand that any chemical is a tool, and when used correctly by the right people, it could be a proper solution. Otherwise, herbal medications or supplements can be tried to achieve the desired blood pressure goals.

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