Almost Half of Americans Have High Blood Pressure Under New Guidelines

From TIME - November 13, 2017

In the first change to blood pressure guidelines in 14 years, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology say that the threshold for high blood pressure should be lower. Under the new guidelines, nearly half of American adults will be considered to have high blood pressure, according to the heart experts who wrote them.

Until now, recommendations have set 140/90 mmHg as the threshold for high blood pressure. The new guidelines say readings above 130/80 mmHg are considered high. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

The change comes after several years of evolving research on blood pressure and its health consequences. High blood pressure can stress vessels and cause them to be less elastic, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Hypertension is second only to smoking as a leading cause of heart disease deaths.

We now have clear enough data that lower blood pressure really does reduce cardiovascular events, says Dr. Eugenia Gianos, co-clinical director of the center for the prevention of cardiovascular disease at NYU Langone Health. (Gianos was not involved in the writing the guidelines.)


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