Updated Health Guidelines May Mean You Have High Blood Pressure

Sad health news, everyone: 30 million Americans may soon learn they have high blood pressure and will have to take action to change it. According to new high blood pressure treatment guidelines, 46 percent of US adults — about 103 million — could now receive a diagnosis of hypertension. That’s quite a noticeable increase from 32 percent, or 72 million people, who had it under the old guidelines.

Heart doctors, along with experts from groups like the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, announced in the more aggressive guidelines that they are moving the goal line for blood pressure control. Down from the old blood pressure standard of 140/90, doctors now recommend that patients already in treatment should aim for no less than 130/80.

How to Lower Blood Pressure

It’s not immediately clear how quickly doctors across the country will implement the new guidelines, but the good news is that we have an idea of what to expect after hearing the diagnosis. Most of the new batch of people who will now learn they have high blood pressure will be asked to change their diets, move more, and make other healthy lifestyle changes rather than taking medication.

If your blood pressure is between 130/80 and 140/90, your doctor will likely suggest losing weight, exercising, limiting salt intake, and eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, if you have any other health risk factors, such as diabetes, your doc may recommend medication as well. And if you find out your blood pressure is above 140/90, you may be asked to take two different kinds of high blood pressure medication (and to make the aforementioned lifestyle changes as well).

As always, talk to your doctor about what high blood pressure treatment is best for you. Even if the diagnosis is completely shocking, it’s crucial to follow medical advice so that you can lower your risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or other serious health issues down the line.

Let’s keep our hearts happy!

See some simple diet swaps to aid with weight loss:

h/t USA Today

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