High blood pressure re-defined, 130/80 now considered high

Ebony Scott
November 15, 2017

Millions of Americans are being told to look at their numbers after the American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations gave a major overhaul to blood pressure guidelines.

It's safe to say most people would be overwhelmed with the new guidelines - 167 pages, citing 367 scientific publications, titled "2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults".

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

The new AHA standards means almost half of Americans may now have high blood pressure.

Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University, said the new definition will radically change how primary care doctors interact with their patients. Five years later, when that patient has a reading of 140 over 90 and is overweight, he or she is at significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease so they are immediately placed on blood pressure medicine and counseled on exercise and healthy eating.

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"We want to be straight with people - if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it".

Damage to blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major USA government-funded study of over 9,000 people nationwide.

Doctors often call high blood pressure the "silent killer" because it's second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, behind cigarette smoking. It measures the amount of pressure going through your heart when it's pumping.

The category of prehypertension, referring to those with systolic pressure of 120-139, no longer exists.

Dr Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY, said he agrees with the change "because it allows for early lifestyle changes to be addressed". The association recommends that those with stage 1 hypertension will only be prescribed medication if they have a heart attack or stroke.

Other reports by GizPress

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