Do 50% of Americans really have high blood pressure?

Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) changed the definition of blood pressure. Previously, 30% of Americans met the guideline for having high blood pressure. Suddenly, by the new guidelines, 50% of Americans now have high blood pressure!

 

The previous guidelines defined high blood pressure as higher than 140/90. The new guidelines changed the definition to higher than 130/80.

 

High blood pressure is a risk factor for other medical problems such as heart attacks, cardiac arrest, and strokes.

 

Of patient’s with high blood pressure, many can be controlled with lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise. However some patients need medication to control their blood pressure for long term.

 

How often should you be getting your blood pressure checked?  Blood pressure should be checked every two years starting at age 20, and more often in those with a history of high blood pressure or other medical problems.

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