New blood pressure guidelines released

New blood pressure guidelines released

Almost half the US adult population has high blood pressure under new guidelines announced today by the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology are defining a top reading of 130 or more or a bottom reading of 80 or more as high blood pressure. The report was presented Monday at The American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California.

The changes are expected to drastically impact adult Americans: revising the hypertension threshold downward will increase the percent of USA adults living with high blood pressure from 32 percent to 46 percent - almost half of the adult population. However, there will only be a small increase in the number of US adults who will require antihypertensive medication, authors said.

Carey said about 4.2 million more people would be diagnosed with high blood pressure under the new guidelines, but not all of them will be advised to take drugs - just 1.9 percent more, he said.

Charles Cronenweth has been working to lower his blood pressure for the last 10 years.

Those with Stage 2 high blood pressure are being advised under the guidelines to start medication-likely two medications-while making healthy lifestyle changes.

The reason lower blood pressure can raise the risk of dizziness and kidney problems is simply that the brain and kidneys require a certain amount of pressure to "drive" their function, pushing blood through the organs, said Edmundowicz, who also is medical director of the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute.

Americans will be getting instructions on how to check their blood pressure every day to keep up with how they are doing.

"You've already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure", he said. "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".

Previously, anyone who fell between 120-139 and 80-89 was deemed "prehypertensive" or "high normal".

Previous guidelines classified 140/90 mm Hg as Stage 1 hypertension.

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.

Damage to blood vessels begins soon after blood pressure is elevated, said Whelton, who is the Show Chwan professor of global public health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and School of Medicine in New Orleans.

The guidelines stress the importance of home blood pressure monitoring using validated devices and appropriate training of healthcare providers to reveal "white-coat hypertension", which occurs when pressure is elevated in a medical setting but not in everyday life.

"We see lifestyle modification as the cornerstone for treatment", said Dr.

Doctors say only two percent of the people newly-added to the hypertension category will need medication.

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiac problems and strokes, and is sometimes called "the silent killer" because so many adults live with high blood pressure and don't know it.

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