Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Medical | By Alyssa Little

New rules say 46 percent of Americans have hypertension

New rules say 46 percent of Americans have hypertension

Eleven medical groups including the American Heart Association are redefining the danger zone: the bar for systolic blood pressure is lowered from 140 points to 130.

Readings even below those numbers - previously called "pre-hypertension" or "high-normal blood pressure" - signify serious risks too.

"It doesn't mean you need medication, but it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches".

The findings mean that an additional 14% of USA adults, or about 30 million people, will now be diagnosed with high blood pressure, bringing the total number to 100 million people living with the condition in the U.S.

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Doctors now recognise that complications "can occur at those lower numbers", said the first update to comprehensive USA guidelines on blood pressure detection and treatment since 2003.

Dr. Calvin says that can be addressed with lifestyle changes like eating more fruits and veggies, increasing exercise, and minimizing alcohol consumption.

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

Now 46 percent of US adults will have high blood pressure.

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High blood pressure is the No. 2 cause of preventable heart disease and stroke behind smoking, Gandhi said.

More guidance for how people should manage their blood pressure, focusing on lifestyle improvements.

The category of prehypertension, referring to those with systolic pressure of 120-139, no longer exists. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said. It measures the amount of pressure going through your heart when it's pumping.

"I think this will encourage both patients to adhere to recommendations but also clinicians to be more vigorous in their attempts to prescribe lifestyle changes", said Dr. Pamela Morris, chair of the ACC's committee on prevention of cardiovascular disease. Anything above is now considered "elevated" or "Stage 1" or "Stage 2".

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He added: "It is important, however, to realise that the change in the definition does not give course to increased prescriptions of medications".

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