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

High blood pressure patient

High blood pressure has been re-defined for the first time in 14 years.

Under new health guidelines for hypertension, almost half of all adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure and are at risk of major health problems.

Instead of just one reading in the doctor's office, the new guidelines emphasize an average of readings over several visits, plus home blood pressure readings.

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

Doctors say make lifestyle changes.

Rather than 1 in 3 US adults having high blood pressure with the previous definition, the new guidelines will result in almost half of the USA adult population having the condition.

Almost half of the U.S adult population is now considered to have high blood pressure.

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

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.

WECT's Ben Smart is interviewing two cardiologists today to understand what these new heart health guidelines mean for you.

Only prescribing medication for Stage I hypertension if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event, is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease or calculation of atherosclerotic risk.

"It's very clear that their future risk of heart attack and stroke down the road is almost doubled compared to patients with lower numbers", Farrell said.

Under the new guidelines published Monday, 46 percent of Americans now have hypertension compared to 32 percent under the former definition.

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". A national physician task force has changed the definition of hypertension, and is recommending more patients receive treatment earlier.

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