New rules say 46 percent of Americans have hypertension

Georgia Reed
November 15, 2017

Thirty-two percent of American adults have high blood pressure under the previous guidelines and that will increase to 46 percent under the new guidelines, the heart association said.

America's leading heart experts on Monday issued new guidelines for high blood pressure that mean tens of millions more Americans will meet the criteria for the condition, and will need to change their lifestyles or take medicines to treat it.

The normal limit for blood pressure is considered 120 for systolic, or how much pressure the blood places on the artery walls when the heart beats, and 80 for diastolic, which is measured between beats.

The AHA says the new guidelines are created to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier.

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

"You've already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure", said Paul K. Whelton, lead author of the guidelines.

Kenneth Jamerson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and hypertension specialist at the University of MI was one of almost two dozen medical experts who wrote the new guidelines.

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High blood pressure is no longer 140/90.

Dr. Shearer says people are usually diagnosed with high blood pressure in their 50's and 60's when arteries get stiffer but he says people as young as teens should get their blood pressure checked.

For the first time since 2003, the American Heart Association has redefined high blood pressure.

Today, millions of Americans who didn't have high blood pressure before have it now.

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

High blood pressure can mean serious problems with your heart. Then a person's reading becomes the average of those numbers and reduces the risk of "white coat hypertension" - blood pressure readings that are improperly elevated because a patient in a doctor's office is nervous. "According to what the guidelines say go a head and use what we call lifestyle modification", said Dr. Gordon.

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