New US standard redefines high blood pressure

A patient getting blood pressure checked

A patient getting blood pressure checked

The new standard means that almost half (46 percent) of the US population will be defined as having high blood pressure.

Before the new guidelines were published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the threshold for what is considered high blood pressure was 140/90.

Normal blood pressure is still below 120/80, but now 120-129/80 is considered an "elevated blood pressure", and 130-139/80-89 is "stage 1 hypertension".

"If you take it right as the patient walks in, it's usually higher, because he has sort of a fight or flight response so he has 10 points more but then they relax and the pressure is normal", Dr. Fabregas said.

The higher a person's blood pressure, the higher their risk is of developing heart disease, which means they're more likely to suffer poor health and die early, according to the guideline authors.

The guidelines were presented at the heart association's annual Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, Calif.

Dr. Shearer says high blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because there are often no symptoms.

Butch Jones fired as Tennessee's coach
Hoke was 34-38 at Ball State, 13-12 at San Diego State and 78-70 with the Wolverines, including his best mark of 11-2 in 2011. The Vols are 4-6 this season, 0-6 in the conference and they close the season with two home games against LSU and Vanderbilt.

Almost half of all Americans have high blood pressure according to new guidelines, with cardiologists saying Tuesday it offers an opportunity to promote better health.

Dr. Calvin says that can be addressed with lifestyle changes like eating more fruits and veggies, increasing exercise, and minimizing alcohol consumption.

The American Heart Association says falling into this category won't always call for medication, but it's rather a yellow light to lowering blood pressure.

"I think the goal of the new guidelines is to get blood pressure on the radar for those at-risk patients, to make the diagnosis, to get them to do some lifestyle changes". But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

The new guidelines also emphasize the importance of accurate blood pressure measurements, using an average of different readings at different times.

High blood pressure is caused when the force of blood pushing against vessel walls is too high.

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