Under the new guidelines, 14% of more people will be diagnosed with high blood pressure, making almost half of American adults at risk for major health problems. One was tasked with lowering their systolic pressure (the first number, which measures the blood pressure when your heart pulses) to below 120, the other, to below 140.
The AHA says the new guidelines are created to help people address the potentially deadly condition much earlier.
Though more people will need treatment, Jarvis says most of those newly defined as having high blood pressure will not need medication.
High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking.
The guidelines were presented at the heart association's annual Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, Calif.
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.
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Identifying socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress as risk factors for high blood pressure that should be considered in a patient's plan of care.
The challenge with the previous guideline is a patient with a reading of 135 over 85 may not have been treated for high blood pressure, Gandhi said. "Saying, 'Hey maybe you should get a blood pressure cuff at home and start monitoring that blood pressure and bring in those numbers for us to review together at your next visit'".
Under the new guidelines published Monday, 46 percent of Americans now have hypertension compared to 32 percent under the former definition. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.
Under new health guidelines for hypertension, almost half of all adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure and are at risk of major health problems.
The new guidelines also emphasize the importance of accurate blood pressure measurements, using an average of different readings at different times. Now 103 million people will have high blood pressure.
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