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Lowering Blood Pressure Target Would Greatly Increase Number of People Diagnosed with Hypertension

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander A. Leung, MD, MPHDepartment of Community Health SciencesDepartment of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgary, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Leung

Alexander A. Leung, MD, MPH
Department of Community Health Sciences
Department of Medicine
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) blood pressure guidelines redefined hypertension according to a blood pressure cutoff of ≥130/80 mm Hg, compared to the traditional cutoff of ≥140/90 mm Hg.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: If adopted, a blood pressure cutoff of ≥130/80 mm Hg would result in a large change in the epidemiology of hypertension in Canada. We estimated that the number of Canadian adults diagnosed with hypertension would increase from 24.2% to 42.4%. In absolute terms, 5.2 million people who were not previously considered to have high blood pressure would be reclassified as having hypertension. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Lowering the diagnostic blood pressure cutoff to ≥130/80 mmHg would result in a near doubling in the prevalence of hypertension in Canada. The changes would largely affect individuals who are younger and at low-to-moderate cardiovascular risk.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Clinicians are encouraged to bring up discussions about blood pressure and treatment with patients. Decisions related to diagnosis and treatment are ideally guided by accurate information about benefits and risks, and informed by patient preferences. 


Garies S, Hao S, McBrien K, et al. Prevalence of Hypertension, Treatment, and Blood Pressure Targets in Canada Associated With the 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Blood Pressure Guidelines. JAMA Netw Open. 2019; 

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Last Updated on March 12, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD