Americans with blood pressure of 130/80 or higher should be treated, down from the previous trigger of 140/90, according to new guidelines announced on Monday by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
It's safe to say most people would be overwhelmed with the new guidelines - 167 pages, citing 367 scientific publications, titled "2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults".
The new standard means almost half (46 per cent) of the USA population will be defined as having high blood pressure.More news: Thanks To Hidden Valley, You Can Now Buy A Keg Of Ranch
High blood pressure is second only to smoking when it comes to preventable heart disease and stroke deaths. "So the earlier, the better", said Dr. Shearer.
In terms of lives, the change translates to a 14% increases in the number of adults classified with high blood pressure.
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Dr. Shearer says people are usually diagnosed with high blood pressure in their 50's and 60's when arteries get stiffer but he says people as young as teens should get their blood pressure checked.
The AHA hopes that the new guidelines won't mean more people will use medication, so much as the hope more people will make the lifestyle changes necessary to address hypertension.
Identifying socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress as risk factors for high blood pressure that should be considered in a patient's plan of care. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said. Dr. Fabregas says when the high pressure ruins those pipes, or blood vessels, the heart has to work harder to pump blood.More news: West Ham appoint Moyes as new manager
"For the first time millions of American may be told that they have elevated blood pressure, whereas previously they've been told that their blood pressure is O.K.", says Dr. Andrew Calvin with the Cardiac Center at Mayo Clinic Health System.