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ACSM Certification Board to Adopt New Hypertension Guidelines

The American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA), and other organizations recently released updated blood pressure guidelines. In 2018 and 2019, the ACSM Certification Board will adopt the following:

ACSM-GEI®: use the JNC 2003 hypertension guides until December 2, 2018. Beginning December 3, 2018, the ACSM-GEI® exam will reflect the updated 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

ACSM-CPT®: use the JNC 2003 hypertension guides through December 31, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the ACSM-CPT® exam will reflect the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

ACSM-EP®: use the JNC 2003 hypertension guides through December 31, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the ACSM-EP® exam will reflect the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

Clinical Exercise Physiologist: ACSM-RCEP® and ACSM-CEP® exams taken prior to October 31, 2018 will be based on JNC 2003 hypertension guidelines. Beginning December 3, 2018, the ACSM-CEP® exam will reflect the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

JNC (2003) 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds
Normal: <120/<80 mm Hg Normal: <120/<80 mm Hg
Prehypertension: 120-139/80-89 mm Hg Elevated: 120-129/<80 mm Hg
Stage 1 hypertension: SBP between 140-159 mm
Hg or DBP between 90-99 mm Hg
Stage 1 hypertension: SBP between 130-139 or
DBP between 80-89 mm Hg
Stage 2 hypertension: SBP ≥160 or DBP ≥100 mm Hg Stage 2 hypertension: SBP ≥140 or DBP ≥90 mm Hg


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