New blood pressure guidelines for "silent, deadly health crisis"

High blood pressure salt

High blood pressure has been re-defined for the first time in 14 years.

The new guidelines classify high blood pressure as 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90.

"The new definition results in only a small increase in the percentage of US adults for whom antihypertensive medication is recommended in conjunction with lifestyle modification", according to the guidelines.

Experts expect the new guidelines will greatly impact younger people, with high blood pressure expected to triple among men under 45 and double among women under 45.

"The earlier we treat the blood pressure though, the greater the protection from future heart attacks". Then a person's reading becomes the average of those numbers and reduces the risk of "white coat hypertension" - blood pressure readings that are improperly elevated because a patient in a doctor's office is nervous.

High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking.

But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting. However, most of the people now considered to have hypertension will be treated with lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise improvements, and not blood pressure medication, according to the authors.

High blood pressure has even associated dementia.

WECT's Ben Smart is interviewing two cardiologists today to understand what these new heart health guidelines mean for you. The association recommends that those with stage 1 hypertension will only be prescribed medication if they have a heart attack or stroke.

"High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no signs or symptoms to go with it", says Dr. Calvin.

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

Hypertensive crisis is systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

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