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New Blood Pressure Guidelines Add Millions to Hypertension Rolls

11/19/17

  11:07:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 275 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness, Hypertension, Preventive care

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Add Millions to Hypertension Rolls

blood pressure

Nearly half of U.S. adults are now considered hypertensive, based on revised blood pressure guidelines developed by the American Heart Association and other medical groups. A reading of 130/80 will indicate stage 1 hypertension, a reduction from the previous standard of 140/90.

The new benchmarks mean that that an additional 30 million Americans (103 million overall) are now categorized as suffering from high blood pressure. People in the stage 1 or stage 2 (140/90 or higher) categories have a significantly increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

By lowering the hypertension threshold, family doctors will place an earlier emphasis on preventive care and healthier lifestyles for patients with elevated blood pressure readings.

The change is long overdue, said Dr. Luke Burchard, Medical Director for health care consultant (and MedBen partner) Avande. "The 140/90 threshold for treatment of hypertension never made sense to me, as we have known for decades that compared with 120/80, those patients had significantly more heart attacks and strokes. I've been a 130/80 target guy for years, and that's what I tell patients," he said.

The study authors noted that, despite the sudden surge of Americans considered hypertensive, only 2% of these new people need medication right away. Since nearly 90% of high blood pressure is caused by bad habits, the rest, they say, should go with such tried-and-true remedies as quitting smoking, better diet, and more exercise.

Still, in cases where medication is recommended, plenty of inexpensive generic options are available. "The meds have never been better and cheaper," Burchard said. "It's no more effort, and usually no more cost, to take the higher dose of a blood pressure drug than the lower, less effective dose to get to a target."

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