High blood pressure re-defined, 130/80 now considered high

High blood pressure salt

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

"For the first time millions of American may be told that they have elevated blood pressure, whereas previously they've been told that their blood pressure is O.K.", says Dr. Andrew Calvin with the Cardiac Center at Mayo Clinic Health System. "The short answer is no", Dr. Sam Aznaurov said.

That's according to new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, which state that 130/80 mm Hg or higher now constitutes high blood pressure, or hypertension.

As of Monday, 30 million more Americans now suffer from high blood pressure. You could be diagnosed with hypertension if your pressure is 130/80.

Jarvis says before the new guidelines, about a third of Mainers had hypertension, or high blood pressure.

"The earlier we treat the blood pressure though, the greater the protection from future heart attacks. If you have a lot of pressure in those hose pipes, it's not good for the pipe".

The proper technique must be used to measure blood pressure, and levels "should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions", according to the new guidelines. This can cause a risky buildup of tissue that makes your heart stiffer.

"The objective of this was really to get the individuals who are on that borderline, or what we used to call pre-hypertension, to get the sort of treatment beforehand, before they progressed on to having their risk factors for things like heart disease and stroke increases", he says.

High blood pressure is second only to smoking when it comes to preventable heart disease and stroke deaths. The secret he says, get checked twice.

"I think this will encourage both patients to adhere to recommendations but also clinicians to be more vigorous in their attempts to prescribe lifestyle changes", said Dr. Pamela Morris, chair of the ACC's committee on prevention of cardiovascular disease.

So what do you do if you now have hypertension?

Though more people will need treatment, Jarvis says most of those newly defined as having high blood pressure will not need medication.

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