New high blood pressure guidelines

Francis Osborne
November 15, 2017

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, only about half of Americans with high blood pressure as defined by the old standard have it under control.

The American Heart Association has updated its comprehensive guidelines for blood pressure and hypertension for the first time in 14 years. Though, if patients with stage one have additional risk factors, such as a previous stroke, heart attack, diabetes or kidney disease, doctors may prescribe a medication, along with lifestyle changes.

Dr. Larry Gordon from Aspirus said the association most likely made the changes to be proactive and lower the risk of people being diagnosed with more serious illnesses later on.

The guidelines were presented at the heart association's annual Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, Calif.

High blood pressure accounts for the second-largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths in the United States, second only to smoking.

High blood pressure is sometimes called a silent killer because there are no symptoms.

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Millions more Americans will be classified as having high blood pressure, but this doesn't necessarily mean more people will be put on medication.

"The earlier we treat the blood pressure though, the greater the protection from future heart attacks".

Dr. Calvin says that can be addressed with lifestyle changes like eating more fruits and veggies, increasing exercise, and minimizing alcohol consumption.

The report said: "People with those readings now will be categorised as having either elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or stage 1 hypertension (130-139 or 80-89)". But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

At the new cutoff, around 46 percent, or more than 103 million, of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure, compared with an estimated 72 million under the previous guidelines in place since 2003.

High blood pressure is caused when the force of blood pushing against vessel walls is too high. It measures the amount of pressure going through your heart when it's pumping.

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