Thirty Million Americans Just Got High Blood Pressure

Garlic high blood pressure

The American Heart Association released a major update regarding new blood pressure guidelines and under the changes, more Americans are considered to have high blood pressure.

With the new guidelines, 46% of Americans have high blood pressure.

Home blood pressure monitoring also will be emphasized to avoid "white-coat hypertension" - the tendency for some people to have higher blood pressure in a medical setting than they do in everyday life, the report said. And thirdly, we set lower blood pressure targets during treatment. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats.

The new goal strikes "an appropriate balance between efficacy... and safety", for those who will be asked to take more medications that can have side effects such as dizziness and falling, said Bob Carey, vice-chair of the guideline committee and a professor of medicine and dean emeritus at the University of Virginia Health System School of Medicine.

But even though more people may be considered to have high blood pressure, not all of them will require medications to treat it, doctors say.

The government agency did not help write or officially endorse the guidelines - a change from previous versions - but it did back key research, including the 2015 study showing the value of lower blood pressure targets.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, killing 800,000 Americans and accounting for 670,000 heart attacks annually.

The new guidelines eliminate the category of prehypertension, which was used for blood pressures with a top number (systolic) between 120-139 mm Hg or a bottom number (diastolic) between 80-89 mm Hg. "Masked hypertension is more sinister and very important to recognize because these people seem to have a similar risk as those with sustained high blood pressure". These guidelines, the first update to offer comprehensive guidance to doctors on managing adults with high blood pressure since 2003, are created to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier.

The new definition will increase the rate of Americans with high blood pressure from about 33 percent to nearly 50 percent, according to Keith Ferdinand, a cardiovascular doctor and guidelines reviewer for the report in which the findings were published.

The change is expected to triple the number of men under age 45 diagnosed with hypertension and double the number among women the same age. They include diuretics, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, which attack blood pressure from different directions. She is medical director of Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation at St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana.

Systolic pressure - or the force on arteries during a heartbeat - should not exceed 120.

Still, only about half of Americans with hypertension under the old guidelines have it under control, said Whelton, the guideline chair.

"They are based on strong evidence", Whelton said.

In developing the guidelines, authors also analyzed more than 900 research studies, excluding those that did not meet strict research requirements.

Stage 2: Systolic of 140 or higher. This is called diastolic pressure. "There is an opportunity to reduce risk without necessarily imposing medications", said Richard Chazal, the immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology.

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