High Blood Pressure Has Been Redefined, Making Almost Half Of Adult Americans Hypertensive
According to the old guideline, about 32 percent of American adults had high blood pressure. Now that the new guideline was released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the number of U.S. adults with high blood pressure jumps to 46 percent. The old definition of high blood pressure was 140/90 mmHg and higher, but now blood pressure levels of 130/80 mmHg or greater are considered high. The recent revision was made for a good reason: to motivate people to make healthier lifestyle choices.
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is sometimes called “a silent killer”. It often shows no symptoms, but contributes to many serious health issues. It damages heart and vessels and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, vision loss, and kidney failure among other problems. It can also make existing health conditions worse. High blood pressure is the second most easily preventable cause of heart attacks after smoking.
It can’t be stressed enough: changing your lifestyle is what it takes to bring high blood pressure under control. Healthy diet with less salt and more potassium, adequate amount of sleep, reducing stress, regular exercise, limiting your consumption of alcohol and quitting smoking are factors necessary to keep blood pressure within normal range. Only a small fraction of people need to take medicines for hypertension. Only about 2 percent of people newly classified as having hypertension will need medications.
The new guidelines apply both to younger people and older adults. The goal for younger people with high blood pressure is to bring it down to 130/80 mmHg, and the same will be expected of seniors. Robert M. Carey, professor of medicine and dean emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said:
You have to escalate the treatment slower and monitor any side effects. But it’s true there is benefit to treating ambulatory, older subjects.
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