Millions more of Americans may now have high blood pressure

High blood pressure patient

High blood pressure patient

Thirty-two percent of American adults have high blood pressure under the previous guidelines and that will increase to 46 percent under the new guidelines, the heart association said. "And for those patients that are at highest risk, those that have had a cardiovascular event in the past, stroke or heart attack, or have diabetes, those are the kind of people we're going to be adding medication for it to bring their blood pressures down", Farrell said.

Dr. Larry Gordon from Aspirus said the association most likely made the changes to be proactive and lower the risk of people being diagnosed with more serious illnesses later on.

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death for Americans, according to the CDC.

Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University, said the new definition will radically change how primary care doctors interact with their patients.

The changes were announced at the American Heart Association's 2017 Scientific Sessions conference in Anaheim, California. It's also known as a "silent killer" because often there are no symptoms.

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.

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The report said: "People with those readings now will be categorised as having either elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or stage 1 hypertension (130-139 or 80-89)".

Damage to blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major USA government-funded study of over 9,000 people nationwide.

Though more people will need treatment, Jarvis says most of those newly defined as having high blood pressure will not need medication.

As of Monday, 30 million more Americans now suffer from high blood pressure.

But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting. "According to what the guidelines say go a head and use what we call lifestyle modification", said Dr. Gordon.

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