Is your blood pressure too high?


Under the new guidelines, the AHA now defines high blood pressure as 130/80, down from the previous 140/90.

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.

"You've already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure", said Paul K. Whelton, lead author of the guidelines. "And yet it carries with it a really high risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage, so one of the most important things that I can do as the doctor is to treat high blood pressure and to prevent those things in my patients". Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120 over 80.

The new guidelines will result in almost half of US adults having high blood pressure, or hypertension - but, there will only be a small increase in those prescribed medication.

A large, government-sponsored study of hypertension patients aged 50 and older showed in 2015 that death from heart-related causes fell 43 percent and heart failure rates dropped 38 percent when their systolic blood pressure was lowered below 120 versus those taken to a target of under 140.

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Dr. Larry Gordon from Aspirus said the association most likely made the changes to be proactive and lower the risk of people being diagnosed with more serious illnesses later on.

Healthy lifestyle changes include losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, not smoking, avoiding alcohol and salt, and reducing stress.

FOX Business reached out to some of the top pharma companies named above but did not immediately receive a comment on how the new guidelines could potentially impact sales going forward. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

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