Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Almost half of Americans have high blood pressure, new guidelines say

High blood pressure salt GETTY Images High blood pressure could be reduced by lowering salt intake
Angelo Anderson | 15 November, 2017, 00:24

High blood pressure is now defined as 130/80, a change from the previous reading of 140/90.

The global hypertension drug market is already expected to climb to $32 billion by the end of 2020, according to analysts at Technavio, but now with the new guidelines for blood pressure set in place by the American Heart Association earlier this week, that market could rise even more as additional Americans may need medication.

"You would think the people that have high blood pressure would be the people that are over weight, they smoke, they don't take care of them selves, don't eat well and certainly that's a possibility, but that doesn't have to be the case", said Dr. Gordon.

Potentially deadly high blood pressure can be brought under control with a wide array of medications, many sold as relatively low-cost generics.

"The new definition results in only a small increase in the percentage of USA adults for whom antihypertensive medication is recommended in conjunction with lifestyle modification", according to the guidelines.

Blood pressure of 120 over 80 is still considered normal, with any systolic pressure reading up to 129 considered "elevated".

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High blood pressure is caused when the force of blood pushing against vessel walls is too high.

Dr. Calvin says that can be addressed with lifestyle changes like eating more fruits and veggies, increasing exercise, and minimizing alcohol consumption.

Damage to blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major United States government-funded study of over 9,000 people nationwide.

WECT's Ben Smart is interviewing two cardiologists today to understand what these new heart health guidelines mean for you. But only a small percentage of those patients will be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication, the association said.

"A lot more people are going to be diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), but the result will be fewer cardiovascular events down the road", Gandhi said.

Experts said the majority of Americans affected won't need medication but will need to make lifestyle changes.

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