Redefined blood pressure guidelines means yours could be too high

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Redefined blood pressure guidelines means yours could be too high

The American Heart Association has updated its comprehensive guidelines for blood pressure and hypertension for the first time in 14 years.

This means an estimated 31 million more people could be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Doctor Andrew Calvin of Mayo Clinic Health System says the new guidelines come with the commonality of high blood pressure today.

The blood pressure categories have changed under the new guidelines.

A large, government-sponsored study of hypertension patients aged 50 and older showed in 2015 that death from heart-related causes fell 43 percent and heart failure rates dropped 38 percent when their systolic blood pressure was lowered below 120 versus those taken to a target of under 140.

The findings mean that an additional 14% of USA 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.

"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".

A spokesperson from AHA told FOX Business that they do not have any projections regarding the "cost" to Americans for this change but did add that the "vast majority of those who are now considered to have elevated pressure will be prescribed lifestyle changes", like improved diet with less sodium and more exercise.

Identifying socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress as risk factors for high blood pressure that should be considered in a patient's plan of care.

Concerns about those side effects, as well as the fact that the close monitoring seen in a clinical trial is hard to replicate, led the AHA, ACC and other groups to select the 130 systolic blood pressure target.

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".

Experts said the majority of Americans affected won't need medication but will need to make lifestyle changes.

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