Half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure under new American Heart Association guidelines

Roughly half of the United States’ adult population will meet the criteria for hypertension as the American Heart Association released new guidelines for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure Monday (Nov. 11).

For the past 14 years, high blood pressure has been defined as 140/90, and approximately one in every three adults in the U.S. are currently diagnosed under this measurement.

However, with research showing complications occurring in readings of lower than previously thought, the American Heart Association officially redefined the criteria for high blood pressure – a reading of 130/80.

The new definition will increase the rate of Americans with high blood pressure from about 33 percent to almost 50 percent, according to Keith Ferdinand, a cardiovascular doctor and guidelines reviewer for the report in which the findings were published.

High blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45 and double among women under 45, according to the American Heart Association.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Ferdinand said blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors of heart disease.

According to a press release from the American Heart Association, although the rate of diagnosis will increase by about 14 percent, there will be only a small increase in patients who require medical treatment for hypertension.

Paul Whelton, a cardiologist and lead author of the report, said although medical treatment may not be necessary, those with blood pressure measuring 130/80 have already doubled their risk of heart problems compared to those with normal blood pressure .

“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,” Whelton said in a press release.

According to Ferdinand, high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart conditions that lead to death…

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