High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140: U.S. guidelines

Don’t just get your BP taken make sure it’s taken the right way

Previously, the AHA said 32 percent of adults in the USA had high blood pressure (hypertension) but with the new guidelines, about 46 percent have hypertension.

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

The normal limit for blood pressure is considered 120 for systolic, or how much pressure the blood places on the artery walls when the heart beats, and 80 for diastolic, which is measured between beats.

"By being more aggressive when people are younger, we hope to prevent bad outcomes later", Dr. Siddharth Gandhi of Advocate Heart Institute at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal said Monday.

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death for Americans, according to the CDC.

This comes after the American Heart Association redefined guidelines for the first time in almost a decade. High blood pressure sometimes is called the silent killer because it contributes to cardiovascular disease with no symptoms.

Kenneth Jamerson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and hypertension specialist at the University of MI was one of almost two dozen medical experts who wrote the new guidelines.

High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 over 80 or higher, a change from the old definition of 140 over 90. "It doesn't mean you need medication, but it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches".

Cardiologist Dr. Tara Narula joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the impact of the new guidelines.

But the drugs have side effects and the new guidelines emphasize lifestyle changes including weight loss, diet and exercise as the first tool for combating hypertension. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

"Elevated blood pressure is not our friend".

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

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