Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III sees nothing wrong with adopting the new high blood pressure categorization from the American Heart Association (AHA) which lowers the new normal to less than 120 systolic mm Hg and less than 80 diastolic mm Hg.

Now, a systolic pressure that goes higher than 120 (120-129), even with a diastolic pressure of less than 80 is already considered “elevated” blood pressure, according to the new categories put forward by the American Heart Association (AHA).

The new guidelines also dictate that having a systolic of 130-139 and diastolic of 80-89 qualifies as high blood pressure (hypertension) Stage 1.

Stage 2 is categorized as systolic of 140 or higher and diastolic of 90 or higher, while the hypertensive crisis category is now higher than systolic 180 and diastolic that is higher than 120 - which requires urgent attention.

Asked whether the Philippine health sector is open to adopt these changes, Secretary Duque said he’s not opposed to the move but would rather hear from the local experts first.

“Let’s wait for [them]. We have a professional society - the Philippine Heart Association (PHA),” said Secretary Duque, during a recent press conference at the DOH Central Office in Manila.

The US guideline change came after experts determined that the current “normal” or “pre-hypertensive” blood pressure could already be putting patients at risk for heart disease and death.

Secretary Duque said they will coordinate with the society on determining what the Philippine’s official stand will be and if the department will follow the US guidelines or not.

“[There’s] nothing wrong with it, it’s good to be conservative when it comes to certain standards,” he said.

During the May Measurement Month 2017, the DOH revealed there are about 12 million Filipinos who have high blood pressure, and 200,000 die yearly as a consequence.

worse, as many as half of these people do not show symptoms, thus, are regarded as walking time bombs, warned the department.

The Health chief reminded the public there are healthy lifestyle measures which prevent blood pressure from worsening, and these include a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and alcoholic beverages. MIMS

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