The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently released guideline recommendations for hypertension which decreased the threshold blood pressure used to define hypertension and lowered the target blood pressure for antihypertensive treatment. Now, findings from a new study published in the BMJ suggest that the adoption of these guidelines could lead to significant increases in both the number of people considered to have hypertension and eligibility for treatment and more intensive treatment.
Researchers analysed nationally representative data for adults aged 45 to 75 years from China. They found adoption of the guidelines would lead to the classification of 267 million (55%) people in this age group as having hypertension, a relative increase of 45 per cent compared with current recommendations. They calculated that 55 million people in China would be advised to start drug treatment, while 30 million would be advised to receive more intensive drug treatment.
Applying the new definition to the US population would see 7.5 million people newly recommended for treatment, and 13.9 million newly recommended for intensification of treatment in order to reach the new blood pressure targets.