Indian doctors have advocated a revision in the values of blood pressure to 130/80 or lower from the current 140/90, citing new American and European guidelines.
C. Venkata S. Ram, senior consultant at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, and founder member of the American Society of Hypertension believes that blood pressure levels higher than 130/80 should be viewed as a "warning signal" of impending disease progression and complications of hypertension.
The Indian Hypertension Guidelines, published in 2013 in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, define blood pressure levels between 130-139/80-89 as "high normal", 120-129/below 80 as "normal", and below 120/below 80 as "optimal".
With such guidelines, a lot of doctors end up considering view readings slightly below 140/90 - for instance, 137/88 - as acceptable.
"This needs to change, the goal should be 130/80 or below," said Ram, who has argued, in a commentary published on Sunday in the Indian Heart Journal, that 130-80 should be the "non-negotiable therapeutic goal" for Indians.
Hypertension is the most prevalent public health issue that contributes to the maximum number of deaths and disease. Our understanding of hypertension has been dynamic and concepts need to be constantly redefined in light of new evidences and discoveries.
Untreated hypertension can lead to a higher incidence of heart diseases in an individual, strokes and even life-threatening kidney damage.
Studies have suggested that only about half of Indian patients with hypertension are diagnosed in time. Even when a patient is diagnosed with blood pressure, it has been observed that they do not receive adequate treatment for various reasons.
Panels of experts under the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association converged on 130/80 as a common treatment goal in November 2017, and the European Society of Cardiology and European Society of Hypertension asserted the same observation in 2018.
These guidelines find greater resonance in the context of the India, which is deeply burdened by numerous cases of unaddressed or poorly treated hypertension.
According to cardiologists, a revision in the blood pressure value to a 130/80 target would dramatically accentuate the viability of thethousands of patients who require to gauge and control their blood pressure.
While taking blood pressure readings is a critical step that is repeated for reliability and confirmation, not all cases of blood pressure will require medical treatment.