Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140: USA guidelines

High blood pressure patient GETTY Images Salt is one of the main causes of high blood pressure
Patty Aguilar | 14 November, 2017, 01:26

New medical guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition.

Stage 1 hypertension: The top number is between 130 and 139 or the bottom number is between 80-89.

The American Heart Association and American College are now defining a top reading of 130 or more or a bottom reading of 80 or more as high blood pressure.

At the new cutoff, around 46 percent, or more than 103 million, of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure, compared with an estimated 72 million under the previous guidelines in place since 2003.

Cronenweth says he checks his blood pressure every day and more Americans will be getting instructions on how to do that.

Instead, the guidelines create new categories of blood pressure, including "elevated", "Stage 1 and 2 hypertension", and "hypertensive crisis", each characterized by various blood pressure readings.

"Rather than one in three US adults having high blood pressure (32 percent) with the previous definition, the new guidelines will result in almost half of the USA adult population (46 percent) having high blood pressure, or hypertension", the groups said in a joint statement.

"Hopefully, the new guidelines will give clinicians more confidence that it is appropriate to treat high-risk patients who may not meet the old definitions of high blood pressure", Ferdinand said.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, killing 800,000 Americans and accounting for 670,000 heart attacks annually. Blood pressure is affected by a wide variety of factors including genetics, age, diet, exercise, stress and other diseases such as diabetes.

Normal: Less than 120 over 80.

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

High blood pressure accounts for the second-largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths in the United States, second only to smoking.

"We will have a big jump in prevalence but you'll notice only a small increase in the number of people we believe will benefit from hypertensive drugs", Carey said. The four main classes of drugs for blood pressure have generic versions and can be as cheap as a few dollars a month. It will also disproportionately affect younger people by tripling the number of men under 45 and doubling the number of women under 45 with the diagnosis.

The best way to deal with it is by exercising more, eating a diet low in sodium while restricting alcohol and lowering stress. But there will only be a small increase in the number of US adults who will require medication, the authors of the guidelines said.

According to the AHA, the new guidelines were developed by 21 science and health experts who reviewed more than 900 published studies.

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.

"White coat hypertension", which occurs when a person's blood pressure spikes while in the doctor's office, is a known phenomenon that can mar the test's accuracy.

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