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Under new guidelines, nearly half of United States adults have high blood pressure

14 November 2017

"Nine out of every 10 times you see high blood pressure, it's because the diet or the nutrition isn't as good as it could be, it's because we're not as physically active as we could be and should be, and perhaps it's because we're consuming too much alcohol", lead guidelines author Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, said in a video released by the American Heart Association (AHA).

The new guidelines define high blood pressure, or hypertension, as 130/80 and higher which is down from the old definition of 140/90 and higher.

According to Ferdinand, high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart conditions that lead to death and disability in America. The four main classes of drugs for blood pressure have generic versions and can be as cheap as a few dollars a month.

The systolic reading refers to the pressure when the heart contracts and sends blood through the arteries.

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Thomas Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who now runs a global health initiative that focuses on heart disease and stroke, said that the "big news about this guideline is it should end forever any debate about whether people should be treated with medicines once they hit 140/90".

The new guideline is created to help people take steps to control their blood pressure earlier, according to the authors.

And for those who had normal blood pressure before the new gauge, Whelton had some good news: "Normal hasn't changed". And an increasing risk of heart attack and stroke. These guidelines, the first update to offer comprehensive guidance to doctors on managing adults with high blood pressure since 2003, are created to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier.

Tighter blood pressure guidelines from US heart organizations mean millions more people need to make lifestyle changes, or start taking medication, in order to avoid cardiovascular problems. 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. "Masked hypertension is more sinister and very important to recognize because these people seem to have a similar risk as those with sustained high blood pressure".

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The change is expected to triple the number of men under age 45 diagnosed with hypertension and double the number among women the same age.

Normal: Less than 120 systolic pressure (the top number).

"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. They were written by a panel of 21 scientists and health experts who reviewed more than 900 published studies.

Stage 2: Systolic of 140 or higher.

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Often called the “silent killer” because there are often no obvious symptoms, hypertension accounts for more heart disease and stroke deaths than nearly all other preventable causes. "There is an opportunity to reduce risk without necessarily imposing medications", said Richard Chazal, the immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology. Ferdinand is a professor of Clinical Medicine at the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute and said rates of hypertension are even higher in the South than in other parts of the country.

Under new guidelines, nearly half of United States adults have high blood pressure