The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations issued new blood pressure guidelines Monday which has increased the number of Americans with high blood pressure by 14% to 46% of all of the US population. That’s an increase of over 30 million (up to 103.3 million from 72.2 million) individuals who now are considered to have high blood pressure, including 50% of men and 38% of adult women in the US.
The new guidelines define normal as less than 120/80. When the first number is between 130 and 139 or the second number is between 80 and 89, this will be referred to as Stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 is when the 1st is at least 140 or 2nd is at least 90. If the top number hits 180 or bottom 120 that would be hypertensive crisis and could lead to hospitalization.
This could lead to a number of lifestyle changes for people who were previously to the announcement considered perfectly healthy. Including watching salt intake, exercising more regularly, relaxing, getting a proper amount of sleep, eating a little more potassium-rich fruits and vegetables and other things. Authors of the new guidelines believe that only a small percentage of those affected will need to be put on medication.
This change will also have a big impact on medical professionals as they now have to re-council patients with new advice based on changes in their position in the stages.
But given that cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death among Americans this change does seem necessary.