Breaking down the new blood pressure guidelines

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Around 75 million American adults have high blood pressure — that’s one out of three.

79 year old Elizabeth is among them, battling hypertension for 20 years.

“let’s just take a reading and see how you’re doing,” says Dr. William White at UConn Health.

Her numbers are running higher than normal – mostly due to being interviewed.

“This is quite exciting for me to do, and I’m enjoying it, so my blood pressure until I get comfortable with the situation will be a little higher,” Elizabeth said.

Keeping it in check because she’s concerned about, “Having a stroke.”

Related Content: Nearly half of Americans now have high blood pressure, based on new guidelines

Saving lives is why noted specialist Dr. White supports the recent blood pressure guidelines released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Stage one of high blood pressure level in adults was lowered from 140 over 90 — to 130 over 80.

Dr. White says, “That 10 point difference has increased the number of people having hypertension in the United States from 32 percent to 46 percent.”

Which he says will have a massive impact on public health, ‘There will be a lot less strokes, there will be a lot less heart failure, there will be a lot less people dying from the consequences of hypertension.”

Still — the new recommendations could be a mixed blessing.

He points out, “There is some concern that so many people will be labeled hypertensive and that might affect things like their insurance and their life insurance.”

Treatment Dr. White says really comes down to your health, “If you don’t have heart disease, you don’t have a history of stroke, you’re under the age of 75, you don’t have a history of cardiovascular complications like heart failure, you can use non-drug therapies.”

Patients like Elizabeth require more.

“With the medication, I run around 132 over 72 with medication.”

Dr. White says expect more recommendations in the coming year for diagnosing and treating blood pressure — specifically in the areas of close monitoring and use of medications.

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