Beating the Odds

What are your odds of having high blood pressure? It is a simple question and all you have to do is ask your physician, correct? As famed college football announcer Lee Corso likes to say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

The answer to your question may depend on which doctor you ask. Your cardiologist may take your blood pressure, describe it as 131/81mmHg (the pressure is measured in how many millimeters it pushes a column of mercury, the symbol for which is “Hg”), and announce that you are hypertensive and need to start medicine. Your internist may take your blood pressure, tell you it is 131/81mmHg, and say you are fine. What is going on?

After many years of defining high blood pressure as anything equal to or above 140/90 mm Hg, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), with the American Heart Association (AHA) and others, introduced ([new blood pressure guidelines] on November 13, 2017.