New rules say 46 percent of Americans have hypertension

New rules say 46 percent of Americans have hypertension

The new standard means almost half (46 per cent) of the U.S. population will be defined as having high blood pressure.

In an attempt to address potentially deadly conditions in patients much earlier, the American Heart Association presented new guidelines by lowering the defining numbers for high blood pressure. The Association now generally recommends that patients with Stage 1 hypertension only be prescribed medication in the event of a heart attack or stroke, and they're also recommending that pharmaceutical companies combine multiple blood pressure drugs.

People with readings of 120 over 80 are still considered normal.

Dr. Aznaurov said the only way people in this range would have to start medication is if they have another underlying cardiac disease.

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Jarvis says before the new guidelines, about a third of Mainers had hypertension, or high blood pressure.

This comes after the American Heart Association redefined guidelines for the first time in almost a decade.

"The prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45", according to the report.

"There are millions of people that fall into this category that's now called Stage One Hypertension who previously we were calling normal blood pressures", Cardiology Director for the Heart and Vascular Institute at the Hartford Healthcare Corporation at MidState Medical Center Dr. Bill Farrell said.

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Gandhi described the new guidelines as "sound" and "a long time coming".

Dr. Shearer says changing the guidelines gives you a chance to make lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising regularly before it's too late. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

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. Now 103 million people will have high blood pressure.

"High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no signs or symptoms to go with it", says Dr. Calvin.

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