Changes to Medical Definition of High Blood Pressure

The data that characterizes the definition of high blood pressure is changing. Now, the upper limit has been lowered. Which means many, many more Americans and older adults will now be diagnosed with medically defined “high blood pressure”.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology announced changes to the previous high blood pressure guidelines (which had not been revised since 2003) largely because of convincing data from a federal study published in 2015. The results showed overwhelming evidence of “significant cardiovascular benefit.”

However, the new guidelines affect every single adult in North America, and will result in labeling many more people with hypertension and high blood pressure. In turn, this will affect recommended drug treatment for many more people.

Some of the more startling statistics associated with the new guidelines:

— The number of adults with defined high blood pressure will rise from 72 million to 103 million
— The number of men younger than 45 with a diagnosis of high blood pressure will triple
— The prevalence of high blood pressure among women younger than 45 will double

How to prevent and/or treat high blood pressure? Although there is no cure for high blood pressure, it is highly treatable with medication and lifestyle changes, including eating a healthier diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and exercising more.

Consider some of the following lifestyle changes in order to decrease blood pressure:

— Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
— Choose safe drinking water, low-fat milk or tea.
— Exercise or establish an activity routine for 30-60 minutes most days of the week.
— Do not smoke. Smoking increases the risk of developing heart problems and other diseases.
— Mix your diet with a selection of fruit or low-fat foods as snacks.
— Consume less salt. Your normal diet contains plenty.
— Watch your weight. If you are overweight, consider working on losing at least 10 lbs. Reducing your weight to within a healthy range for your age and gender will lower your blood pressure even more.
— Limit alcohol intake. Stay on a plan of no more than 2 drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 10 for women and 3 drinks a day to a weekly maximum of 15 for men.
— Monitor your blood pressure regularly and take appropriate medication as prescribed.

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: Website:

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