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The American Heart Association released a major update regarding new blood pressure guidelines and under the changes, more Americans are considered to have high blood pressure.

This means an estimated 31 million more people could be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Millions more Americans will be classified as having high blood pressure, but this doesn't necessarily mean more people will be put on medication.

The findings mean that an additional 14% of USA adults, or about 30 million people, will now be diagnosed with high blood pressure, bringing the total number to 100 million people living with the condition in the U.S.

Dr. Shearer says high blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because there are often no symptoms.

"We want to be straight with people - if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it". A reading of less than 120/80 mm HG is defined as the new normal. Though, if patients with stage one have additional risk factors, such as a previous stroke, heart attack, diabetes or kidney disease, doctors may prescribe a medication, along with lifestyle changes.

"The prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45", according to the report.

Concerns about those side effects, as well as the fact that the close monitoring seen in a clinical trial is hard to replicate, led the AHA, ACC and other groups to select the 130 systolic blood pressure target.

The category of prehypertension, referring to those with systolic pressure of 120-139, no longer exists. The association recommends that those with stage 1 hypertension will only be prescribed medication if they have a heart attack or stroke. However, most of the people now considered to have hypertension will be treated with lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise improvements, and not blood pressure medication, according to the authors. Then a person's reading becomes the average of those numbers and reduces the risk of "white coat hypertension" - blood pressure readings that are improperly elevated because a patient in a doctor's office is nervous. "Rather, it brings to light the need to make lifestyle changes".


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