New High Blood Pressure guidelines could put you in danger.
“The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and nine other groups redefined high blood pressure as a reading of 130 over 80, down from 140 over 90. The change, the first in 14 years, means that 46 percent of U.S. adults, many of them under the age of 45, now will be considered hypertensive.”
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that affects approximately 46% of Americans, causing up to 75,000 deaths per year. Called “the silent killer” because typically, high blood pressure has no symptoms until after it has done significant damage to the heart and arteries.
Nearly 20% of Americans who have high blood pressure don’t know they have it and, therefore, don’t know that they are at risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and even eye disease.
The two numbers in your blood pressure, systolic and diastolic are defined:
Systolic is specifically the maximum arterial pressure during contraction of the left ventricle of the heart. This is the top number.
Diastolic is specifically the minimum arterial pressure during relaxation and dilatation of the ventricles of the heart when the ventricles fill with blood. This is the bottom number in your blood pressure reading.
Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are:
- Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
- Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
- Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
- Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
- Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
“We’re recognizing that blood pressures that we in the past thought were normal or so-called pre-hypertensive actually placed the patient at significant risk for heart disease and death and disability,” said Robert M. Carey, co-chairman of the group that produced the new report. “The risk hasn’t changed. What’s changed is our recognition of the risk.”