The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its comprehensive guidelines for blood pressure and hypertension for the first time in 14 years. The new AHA standards mean that nearly half of Americans may now have high blood pressure.
Patients with blood pressure of 130/80 would now be diagnosed with hypertension or abnormally high blood pressure. Previously, 140/90 was the minimum to be considered for the condition.
The new guidelines indicate that 46% of American adults suffer from hypertension — a huge increase from the 32% measured by the old standards. The AHA made the changes after a team of 21 science and health experts reviewed over 900 medical studies.
“We want to be straight with people — if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it,” said Dr. Paul K. Whelton, the lead author of the new guidelines. “It doesn’t mean you need medication, but it’s a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches.”
The AHA hopes that the new guidelines won’t mean more people will use medication, so much as the hope more people will make the lifestyle changes necessary to address hypertension.
The AHA 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.
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Footage provided by WCPO Cincinnati
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