What Do The Revised High Blood Pressure Diagnostic Guidelines Have To Do With Osteoporosis? - Save Our Bones

In 2017, two medical organizations conspired to give 30 million Americans a high blood pressure diagnosis overnight. Inciting an immediate, far-reaching epidemic sounds like the work of a villain, but it’s business as usual for Big Pharma and the Medical Establishment.

Today we’ll look at the change in the recommended diagnostic guidelines for high blood pressure and how such a change can impact the lives of millions of Americans. It’s a travesty that bears a marked resemblance to the indefensible decision that turned osteoporosis into a disease. We’ll chart the parallels after we discuss the new definition of hypertension.

The New Diagnostic Threshold For Hypertension

Since 1993 until November 2017, the diagnostic barrier for high blood pressure was 140 over 90. If your blood pressure reading were higher than that, you would be told you have high blood pressure, and your doctor would likely prescribe drugs.

But in 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology gathered to reexamine that figure, and decided to lower the threshold for diagnosis to 130 over 80.1 The moment that change became official, 14% of Americans – around 30 million people – went from being healthy to having a “disease.”2

The revised guidelines, announced in November at the American Heart Association’s conference in Anaheim, have several designations of blood pressure levels:

  • Normal: Systolic under 120 / Diastolic less than 80
  • Elevated: Systolic 120-129 / Diastolic over 80
  • Stage 1: Systolic 130-139 / Diastolic of 80-89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 / Diastolic at least 90

These revised parameters do away with the designation of prehypertension and upgrades people formerly at risk of hypertension to full status. That brings the total estimated number of Americans with high blood pressure up to 46% of the population, or about 100 million people.2

Blood Pressure Explained

Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure exerted on blood vessels. The two numbers in a reading are the systolic pressure (the top number) and the diastolic pressure (the bottom number). The systolic pressure is the force exerted on the vessels when the heart beats, pumping blood through the arteries. The diastolic number is the pressure between beats when the heart is briefly at rest.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading indicator of serious health problems, including an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. The new changes to the blood pressure parameters are in part based on a government study from two years ago which found that death from heart-related causes fell 43 percent and heart failure rates dropped 38 percent when systolic blood pressure was lowered below 120 as opposed to under 140.3

Will this change in diagnostic threshold help more Americans avoid an untimely death? Or will it just frighten them into taking more drugs that will cause a cascade of additional health issues without even addressing the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes?

Pathologizing Blood Pressure

Hypertension is not a disease. It’s a description of a physical condition that can be managed without drugs. Treating it like a disease is misguided from the start. That includes the practice of prescribing side-effect-heavy drugs to large swaths of the public. High blood pressure is the result of behavioral, dietary, and lifestyle habits, and the best way to lower blood pressure is by improving them.

The authors of the revised diagnostic parameters are insisting that only 2% of people who fall in the newly established Stage 1 of hypertension will need to take blood pressure medications. They recommend combating hypertension with improved dietary habits and exercise. Whether doctors will actually follow through with that is doubtful. With Big Pharma pushing their prescription drugs, most doctors are likely to skip the recommended course of action and go straight to their prescription pads.

Older Americans Targeted For Over-Medication

For Americans over the age of 65, these revised guidelines dictate that doctors prescribe more drugs, guaranteeing huge profits for Big Pharma. Three years prior to the revision, the official position on hypertension was changed to advise doctors not to start patients over the age of 65 on medication unless their systolic pressure was over 150. This decision reflected the stress and harm caused by the side effects of blood pressure drugs, side effects that are then treated with additional drugs.

This shift recognized that changes in diet and exercise are safer, healthier and more effective. Tellingly, this most recent rewriting of the guidelines not only changed that recommendation but completely reversed it, lowering the bar for prescriptions by 20 points to 130.1

The only limitation suggested was that drugs not be prescribed for anyone too frail to handle them. Essentially they are recommending that these drugs be prescribed to everyone who can survive the trauma of taking them.

Creating Diseases To Sell Drugs

Once the Medical Establishment creates disease parameters, Big Pharma is ready (and eager) to produce drugs that treat the newly-invented disease. This happens at the expense, both monetary and physical, of patients. Savers know the pattern well because the same system created the current mainstream redefinition of osteoporosis as a ‘disease’.

In fact, the contemporary history of osteoporosis is actually the history of the drugs developed to treat it. The changes in medical policy followed suit, creating a market for them to exploit. You can read more about this and the history of Fosamax (alendronate), the first osteoporosis drug, here.

At the end of the day, the redesignation of hypertension is a cynical bet that fear is more effective than knowledge. It’s an opportunity for drug companies to sell their products by preying on the fear that many doctors will instill in their patients.

Knowledge is far more useful and powerful than the fear and trauma created by pathologizing a condition. That’s why we created the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, and that’s why you’re reading this right now. Keep learning and regaining control of your bones, your overall health, and your future.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.

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Till next time,


1 Paul K. Whelton, et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults” Hypertension. November 13, 2017. Web: https://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/11/10/HYP.0000000000000065
2 Deena Beasley. “New blood pressure range means half of Americans have hypertension.” Reuters. November 13, 2017. Web: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-hypertension/new-blood-pressure-range-means-half-of-americans-have-hypertension-idUSKBN1DD2Q2
3 The SPRINT Research Group. “A Randomized Trial of Intensive versus Standard Blood-Pressure Control.” N Engl J Med 2015; 373:2103-2116. November 26, 2015. Web: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1511939#t=article

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17 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. mm

    As a child, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure of a 40 yr old. That was before meds for that condition were invented. The pediatrician told my mom to modify my diet – off table salt, sugar, processed foods and soda. My BP dropped & normalized and as an adult, I’ve regularly had low-normal BP. For me, controlling diet was the solution – not drugs. (As a kid, I always had enough physical exercise.) Thanks for calling attention to Big Pharma agenda again.

  2. Carol Morris

    Nice to have my thoughts validated by a medical professional.

  3. Jan

    Yes, my husband has had the same blood pressure numbers for years and ha been on meds. Now his doctor upped the dose per the new rule with scare tactics that he didn’t want him to have a stroke!
    And my husband is a retired surgeon so he will follow orders.
    Any thoughts?

    • Kimberly

      Research ways to naturally lower blood pressure, and try implementing them without stating it is for that purpose. Go for walks together, adjust your cooking, make water intake more readily available are just some ideas. You may have to be creative stating that it is you who needs to walk more, drink more water, etc. If his bp goes down naturally, the dr will lower his dosage or discontinue the med. Happy researching!

  4. Mack

    re: Normal: Systolic under 120 / Diastolic over 80
     Elevated: Systolic 120-129 / Diastolic less than 80
    Shouldn’t normal be a diastolic less than 80, and elevated be a diastolic over 80? Otherwise, the above does not make sense to me.
    Regardless, I instantly thought upon hearing this news, that this had to do with big pharma not selling enough blood pressure medication(s). Exercise and small changes to the diet, works nearly every time!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks, Mack, for finding that typo! We’ve corrected it. 🙂 And you’re so right about exercise and small changes in diet! In fact, any small changes in a positive direction are very helpful.

      • Joan

        Magnesium supplements lower blood pressure somewhat. Often recommended by obstetricians for expectant moms for that purpose. Makes sense to me for anyone with slight elevation of blood pressure. Those already on medication may have to reduce dosage of meds after adding in magnesium.

  5. Peter Carminati

    I am 80 years old and the only man here in the apartment complex who no longer has any prescription drugs. Last February, I ended my Metoprolol at 5mg. The year before, I was still being labeled as diabetic, when I removed myself from a statin drug the doctor had suddenly doubled from 20 to 40 mg. I phased myself out to Zero.
    Today, the reaction is accepted but they are just waiting for another excuse to “give it” to me. All those side effects had me looking for roller skates so I could move, bu that wouldn’t work either since my wrecked body was seriously deficient in balance.
    I am now on the Pharaoh’s Oil to completely overhaul myself and reestablish my basics. At one time I was over 210 lbs. Now I am down to 156, but stuck with the pot belly. Once that is gone, I will be about the same as I was when I was 15 yo. I have a lady friend who teased me, when she said that I would live to 130. I asked her if she intended to be there to make faces at me so I could smile back and say, “Yes, Honey, I’m still here!”

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      How wonderful, Peter! I love your description of how your health is improving. You are so inspiring (and funny). Keep up the great work and fabulous attitude!

      • Diane Grant

        Well done Peter, I too refuse to go on diabetic medication and have kept it at an acceptble level for past 5 years with diet and exercise people just have to want to do it.

  6. Marlene

    Good morning Vivian,
    Excellent . Thank you very much .

    Have a wonderful day,


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Marlene. And I hope you have a great day, too!

  7. Max Fitzgibbon

    Here in Australia it was recently recognised that doctors were over treating patients for high blood pressure.
    It was found that “white coat syndrome” is quite widespread.
    Doctors are encouraging patients to take their own BP at home to check on this possibility with high readings in the doctors rooms.
    I am one such person suffering “white coat syndrome”.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Max,

      “White coat syndrome” – what an accurate description of the “affliction” so many medical professionals seem to “suffer from”! I hope you’re able to choose treatment options you’re more comfortable with in the future.

  8. Rosalie Kasteel

    I have learnt so much from “save our bones” emails, readings & downloads.
    When my ‘bone density test’ came back just over the line of danger, my Dr suggested that I start medication to prevent me having an unnecessary bone fracture, I was able to say that I did not want to do this, that I would choose to change my diet and increase my exercise and to lose weight. Thank you for the knowledge, put power back in my hands…

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s exactly why the Save Institute exists, Rosalie! I’m so proud of you for making your own decision regarding your bone health, and not being afraid to stick to it.

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