New Guidelines Mean Millions More Americans Need to Lower Blood Pressure

Garlic high blood pressure

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology published on Monday new guidelines defining high blood pressure as 130 over 80 rather than 140 over 90.

Despite an increase in the amount of Americans with high blood pressure, the AHA hopes their new guidelines mean there will be only a small increase in the amount of patients requiring medication.

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. "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.

Tighter blood pressure guidelines from USA heart organizations mean millions more people need to make lifestyle changes, or start taking medication, in order to avoid cardiovascular problems.

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"The earlier we treat the blood pressure though, the greater the protection from future heart attacks".

Dr. Larry Gordon from Aspirus said the association most likely made the changes to be proactive and lower the risk of people being diagnosed with more serious illnesses later on.

Millions more Americans will be classified as having high blood pressure, but this doesn't necessarily mean more people will be put on medication.

High blood pressure is caused when the force of blood pushing against vessel walls is too high.

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Healthy lifestyle changes include losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, not smoking, avoiding alcohol and salt, and reducing stress.

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

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

The new guidelines eliminate the prehypertension category.

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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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