Redefined blood pressure guidelines means yours could be too high

Garlic high blood pressure

Under the new guidelines, the AHA now defines high blood pressure as 130/80, down from the previous 140/90.

The new guidelines are expected to lead to a surge of people in their 40s with high blood pressure - once considered a disorder mainly among people aged 50 and older.

The findings mean that an additional 14% of US adults, or about 30 million people, will now be diagnosed with high blood pressure, bringing the total number to 100 million people living with the condition in the U.S.

"You would think the people that have high blood pressure would be the people that are over weight, they smoke, they don't take care of them selves, don't eat well and certainly that's a possibility, but that doesn't have to be the case", said Dr. Gordon.

The blood pressure categories have changed under the new guidelines. Five years later, when that patient has a reading of 140 over 90 and is overweight, he or she is at significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease so they are immediately placed on blood pressure medicine and counseled on exercise and healthy eating.

Now 46 percent of US adults will have high blood pressure.

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More guidance for how people should manage their blood pressure, focusing on lifestyle improvements.

Gandhi described the new guidelines as "sound" and "a long time coming". 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.

Medication is recommended for people with stage 1 hypertension only "if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease or calculation of atherosclerotic risk".

"High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no signs or symptoms to go with it", says Dr. Calvin.

Hypertensive crisis is systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

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