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 new definition results in only a small increase in the percentage of US adults for whom antihypertensive medication is recommended in conjunction with lifestyle modification", according to the guidelines.
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"You would think the people that have high blood pressure would be the people that are over weight, they smoke, they don't take care of them selves, don't eat well and certainly that's a possibility, but that doesn't have to be the case", said Dr. Gordon. The Association now generally recommends that patients with Stage 1 hypertension only be prescribed medication in the event of a heart attack or stroke, and they're also recommending that pharmaceutical companies combine multiple blood pressure drugs.
"We want to be straight with people - if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it". Anything above is now considered "elevated" or "Stage 1" or "Stage 2".
But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting. He says they will prevent disease by encouraging early treatment.
Damage to blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major United States government-funded study of over 9,000 people nationwide.
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