Classification of hypertension

What are the modifiable and relatively fixed risk factors for hypertension? When does a blood pressure reading constitute hypertension? In this video, we provide you with the answers based on the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC / AHA) 2017 guidelines.

Franz Wiesbauer, MD MPH
Franz Wiesbauer, MD MPH
11th Mar 2022 • 2m read
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What are the modifiable and relatively fixed risk factors for hypertension? When does a blood pressure reading constitute hypertension? In this video, we provide you with the answers based on the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC / AHA) 2017 guidelines.

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Video transcript

High blood pressure or hypertension is often called the silent killer, because it can manifest for years without any symptoms. And yet hypertension puts individuals at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, kidney disease, dementia or cognitive impairments, visual impairments, sexual dysfunction, and death.

There are many risk factors for hypertension, modifiable risk factors, so those that can be changed or controlled include smoking, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet. Risk factors which are less easily changed include chronic kidney disease, family history, increased age, low socio economic status, male sex, obstructive sleep apnea, and psychosocial stress. But just how high is too high when it comes to blood pressure.

Most countries and regions have their own guidelines when it comes to hypertension, but they're generally quite similar. In this Medmastery course, will focus on the guidelines set out by the American College of Cardiology or ACC and the American Heart Association or AHA in 2017. The ACC AHA guidelines classify hypertension into four stages. Not surprisingly, a blood pressure of less than 120 over 80 is considered optimal. A pressure in the range of 120 to 129 over less than 80 is considered elevated.

A pressure from 130 to 139 over 80 to 89 is classified as stage one hypertension, while pressures of greater than 140 over greater than 90 are classified as stage two hypertension. If the patient's systolic and diastolic blood pressures fall into two different categories, they should be classified in the higher category. For example, a patient with a blood pressure of 124 over 87 should be considered to have stage one hypertension. These stages can help us determine when and how to go about treating hypertension.