New Guidelines Mean Millions More Americans Need to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure patient

The new guidelines will result in almost half of US adults having high blood pressure, or hypertension - but, there will only be a small increase in those prescribed medication. "The days are pretty much over when doctors could walk into the office and tell people what to do, write a prescription and expect them to comply", he said on Twitter Tuesday.

The guidelines were presented at the heart association's annual Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, Calif.

Experts expect the new guidelines will greatly impact younger people, with high blood pressure expected to triple among men under 45 and double among women under 45.

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death for Americans, according to the CDC.

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"High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for the systolic blood pressure measurement, or readings of 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement", said the guidelines.

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

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 guidelines recommend lifestyle changes, eating a healthy, low-sodium diet, rich in potassium - bananas, potatoes, avocados, leafy green vegetables - weight loss, exercise, and cutting out alcohol and tobacco. "Saying, 'Hey maybe you should get a blood pressure cuff at home and start monitoring that blood pressure and bring in those numbers for us to review together at your next visit'".

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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.

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

But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting.

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