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News Worms


New US standard redefines high blood pressure

New US standard redefines high blood pressure

Americans with blood pressure of 130/80 or higher should be treated, down from the previous trigger of 140/90, according to new guidelines announced on Monday by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

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.

For the first time since 2003, the American Heart Association has redefined high blood pressure.

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.

The guidelines recommend lifestyle changes, eating a healthy, low-sodium diet, rich in potassium - bananas, potatoes, avocados, leafy green vegetables - weight loss, exercise, and cutting out alcohol and tobacco.

"We want to be straight with people - if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it". 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)".

But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting. Previously, one in three (32 per cent) had the condition, which is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke, after cigarette smoking.

More guidance for how people should manage their blood pressure, focusing on lifestyle improvements. It measures the amount of pressure going through your heart when it's pumping.

WECT's Ben Smart is interviewing two cardiologists today to understand what these new heart health guidelines mean for you.

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. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

He added: "It is important, however, to realise that the change in the definition does not give course to increased prescriptions of medications".

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