The blood pressure guidelines have been updated for the first time in more than ten years. The revision has lowered the threshold for hypertension and eliminated the pre-hypertension category. These changes will likely affect how dentists treat their patients. More patients may be referred to a physician to deal with hypertension due to the changes in the guidelines.
Under the new protocol, almost half of the U.S. population qualifies as having high blood pressure, compared with 1 out of 3 people under the older guidelines. Younger adults are more likely to be affected by the changes than older adults, with hypertension diagnoses expected to triple for men younger than 45 and double for women younger than 45.1