Potential implications of the new American hypertension guidelines in Australia

Garry LR Jennings, Bronwyn A Kingwell and Erin Hoare
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00104
Published online: 6 August 2018

There are significant population health and economic implications if Australia were to adopt recently revised American guidelines

There are few things more controversial in medicine than when authoritative bodies shift the goalposts for common conditions and redefine normal values. This is particularly the case when the normative values for common chronic disease risk factors in the community, such as blood pressure or cholesterol, are made more stringent. In the stroke of a pen, millions of people have a disease or a risk factor they did not have the day before. Is this “the medicalisation of life” referred to by Illich?1

  • 1 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Food and Mood Centre, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC
  • 4 Centre for Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC


This work was supported by funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (Program Grant #1036352, and Centre for Research Excellence Grant #1000986) and the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program (Garry Jennings and Bronwyn Kingwell). Erin Hoare was supported by an Australian Rotary Health Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Bronwyn Kingwell was supported by an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship (NHMRC #1059454).

Competing interests:

Garry Jennings is Chief Medical Advisor of the Heart Foundation.

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