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14 November 2017, 01:50 | Melissa Porter
New guidelines will mean millions more diagnosed with high blood pressure
The guidelines, presented at a heart association meeting and published inHypertension and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also spell out exactly how health care providers and people at home should check blood pressure. Another barrier is what he called "therapeutic inertia", the reluctance of some physicians and patients to try medication when a person with high blood pressure appears to be otherwise healthy.
The updated guidelines were presented at the AHA's Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California, on November 13 and published by the AHA and the American College of Cardiology.
In the first update to USA guidelines on blood pressure in 14 years, a writing committee changed the definition of high blood pressure from 140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher to 130/80 or higher. However, there will only be a small increase in the number of USA adults who will require antihypertensive medication, authors said.
Carey said about 4.2 million more people would be diagnosed with high blood pressure under the new guidelines, but not all of them will be advised to take drugs - just 1.9 percent more, he said.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Ferdinand said blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors of heart disease. Previously, a blood pressure level of 140/90 was the baseline for being diagnosed with hypertension. "There's a lot that we can do to prevent high blood pressure".
"This a major leap forward in bringing to our attention to the importance of the intensive treatment of elevated blood pressures, which is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, risk factor for heart attack and stroke", Ferdinand said.
Almost half of American adults are at risk for major health problems because of high blood pressure, according to a new scientific guideline that redefines the risky condition and provides tactics for doctors to detect, treat and prevent it.
Whelton said it's important to know your blood pressure reading before managing it. While some people may be concerned to learn they now have high blood pressure, Gianos says that the new guidelines are a sign that experts are learning and improving their advice to people in order to further lower their risk of dying from heart-related causes. People with those readings now will be categorized as having either Elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or Stage I hypertension (130-139 or 80-89). That level is now considered Stage 2 hypertension under the new definition. While that research only included people 50 and older and at high risk for heart problems, subsequent studies have shown this benefit appears to extend to younger people as well, said Chazal who is medical director at the Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla. High blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45 and double among women under 45, according to the guidelines report. "Risk is already going up as you get into your 40s". Blood pressure is affected by a wide variety of factors including genetics, age, diet, exercise, stress and other diseases such as diabetes.
Under the new threshold for initiating treatment, patients assessed to be at higher risk of cardiovascular problems will also be started on medication, he said.
"People with white-coat hypertension do not seem to have the same elevation in risk as someone with true sustained high blood pressure", Whelton said.
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