How would Aussies fare under American BP cut-offs?

Millions would be affected - but cardiologists say no change in BP targets is needed yet

Twice as many Australians would be classified as hypertensive if guidelines similar to US blood pressure cut-offs were adopted here, the MJA has reported.

Dropping treatment targets from 140/90mmHg down to 130/80mmHg, as is now the case in America, would change the health status of 4.5 million Australians, say the authors.

“It would also increase the proportion of adults recommended for antihypertensive therapy based on blood pressure readings in the general population and even more so in populations with chronic disease,” writes University of Sydney cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings and colleagues.

“Adopting the guidelines throughout Australia would double the proportion of adults classified as having hypertension. 

"That is, of the 18 million individuals aged 20 years and over, the health status of 4.5 million would change," they say.

At this stage there is no need