Almost half of Americans have high blood pressure, new guidelines say

Don’t just get your BP taken make sure it’s taken the right way

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

That's according to new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, which state that 130/80 mm Hg or higher now constitutes high blood pressure, or hypertension.

The AHA says the new guidelines are created to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

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

But the number of people who are new candidates for drug treatment will rise only by an estimated 4.2 million people, he said. "And for those patients that are at highest risk, those that have had a cardiovascular event in the past, stroke or heart attack, or have diabetes, those are the kind of people we're going to be adding medication for it to bring their blood pressures down", Farrell said. There are no obvious symptoms, which is why it is often called, "the silent killer".

The challenge with the previous guideline is a patient with a reading of 135 over 85 may not have been treated for high blood pressure, Gandhi said.

In terms of lives, the change translates to a 14% increases in the number of adults classified with high blood pressure.

"It's very clear that their future risk of heart attack and stroke down the road is almost doubled compared to patients with lower numbers", Farrell said. The association recommends that those with stage 1 hypertension will only be prescribed medication if they have a heart attack or stroke. "It doesn't mean you need medication, but it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches". 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.

Related News: