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New US standard redefines high blood pressure

15 November 2017

Rather than 1 in 3 US adults having high blood pressure with the previous definition, the new guidelines will result in almost half of the USA adult population having the condition.

Millions of Americans are being told to look at their numbers after the American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations gave a major overhaul to blood pressure guidelines. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg; elevated is systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80; Stage I is systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89; and Stage II is systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg.

He said a diagnosis of the new high blood pressure does not necessarily mean a person needs to take medication, but that "it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches".

This comes after the American Heart Association redefined guidelines for the first time in almost a decade.

Dr. Shearer says high blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because there are often no symptoms.

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High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death for Americans, according to the CDC.

Healthy lifestyle changes include losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, not smoking, avoiding alcohol and salt, and reducing stress.

"The earlier we treat the blood pressure though, the greater the protection from future heart attacks". The association recommends that those with stage 1 hypertension will only be prescribed medication if they have a heart attack or stroke.

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. Dr. Fabregas says when the high pressure ruins those pipes, or blood vessels, the heart has to work harder to pump blood.

But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting.

New US standard redefines high blood pressure