Published: Sun, November 19, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Cardiologist explains new high blood pressure guidelines

Cardiologist explains new high blood pressure guidelines

According to the new guidelines, a systolic blood pressure readings between 130-139 is considered stage 1 hypertension and a reading over 140 is considered stage 2 hypertension.

Dr. Eugene Yang with UW Medicine says by lowering the standards, more people will be alerted to the risks associated with high blood pressure, and doctors can more aggressively look for ways to treat it.

Under the new guidelines, almost half of all adults are now considered to have hypertension, compared with about a third before.

High-risk groups Home monitoring should be made mandatory so that patients always know their base line reading.

"One good thing I think that's going to come out of this is it's going to make people more aware", he said. That means almost half of American adults are at risk of hypertension - a statistic people that's surprising to many people.

The biggest lifestyle changes to lower their risk for hypertension is for overweight people to shed some pounds and for inactive people to get moving, Bodine said. For some people, it may mean taking medication to keep their blood pressure in a healthy range.

He said: "The lower the blood pressure is, the lower the risk of adverse outcomes". The risks are increased as hormonal and bodily changes causes more pressure to the vessels - thus, increasing the likelihood of having increased blood pressure. Now 46% of the adult population will be classified with high blood pressure. The reason for the change is that researchers are constantly learning new things about our health based on ongoing studies of large groups of people, using new technologies that give us a better understanding of how health measurements change over time. "We want to be straight with people".

This is because, despite the new cut-off, about 80 per cent of the newly defined hypertensives do not require any medication, only lifestyle changes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also provided a list of proven lifestyle modifications that reduce blood pressure such as reducing alcohol intake and cessation of smoking.

High blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease, stroke and other issues.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association said the definition of high blood pressure is being lowered to account for complications that can occur at lower numbers, so people can start making changes sooner. She said for every 1 kilogram of weight lost, there's a 1 millimeter drop of mercury in the blood pressure reading.

Q: Is this a wake-up call for American's to pay more attention to heart health in general?

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