New guidelines will mean millions more diagnosed with high blood pressure

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Heart experts released new guidelines for blood pressure Monday and that means millions more Americans will now be diagnosed with high blood pressure. "There's a lot that we can do to prevent high blood pressure".

By lowering the number that is considered too high, doctors are expanding the characterization so now almost half of USA adults have hypertension.

"SPRINT demonstrated significant benefit with the lower blood pressure goals", said MacLaughlin, who is also a professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy.

High blood pressure is now defined as 130/80, a change from the previous reading of 140/90.

"Yes, we will label more people hypertensive and give more medication, but we will save lives and money by preventing more strokes, cardiovascular events and kidney failure", he said, in a statement. He is one of 21 experts on the guideline writing committee.

According to a press release from the American Heart Association, although the rate of diagnosis will increase by about 14 percent, there will be only a small increase in patients who require medical treatment for hypertension.

For the past 14 years, high blood pressure has been defined as 140/90, and approximately one in every three people in the USA are now diagnosed under this measurement. The guidelines were last revised in 2003.

Instead, the guideline, published in the AHA's journal Hypertension, emphasizes that doctors need to focus on a whole framework of healthier lifestyle changes for patients. "We want to be straight with people-if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it". The rest are urged to try healthier lifestyles first. Improving your nutrition? Improving your physical activity or mederation of alcohol intake?

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A doctor speaks to a patient as a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure meter, lies on his desk. Damage to the inside of arteries and other blood vessels can grow over time, and rates of hypertension increase with age.

As of today you may have high blood pressure. It's known as a "silent killer" because often there are no symptoms. Its second only to smoking. The impact of the new guidelines is expected to be greatest among younger people.

That's up from 32%, or 72 million, under older guidelines. Bob Carey, vice-chair of the guidelines committee and professor of medicine at the University of Virginia Health System School of Medicine.

And Stage 2 occurs at levels of 140 over 90.

The change is expected to triple the number of men under age 45 diagnosed with hypertension and double the number among women the same age. Blood pressure levels should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions, the authors said. "Helping them to work with their clinician to determine what is the best strategy for them to minimize that risk".

That in turn means a higher risk of rhythm problems and heart failure, he said. That assessment, combined with the other recommendations, can prompt more thorough doctor-patient conversations to determine whether lifestyle changes alone can help, or if medicine is needed as well.

The new guidelines "take advantage of evidence nearly up to the minute, so they are very current", Whelton said. Physicians ought to be calculating risk as they think about how to treat.”. “Consumers should be getting an explanation.

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