7 On Your Side Health Alert: Managing high blood pressure
FAIRFAX, Va. (ABC7) —
An additional 30 million Americans woke up with high blood pressure today who didn’t have it yesterday.
They can thank the American Heart Association.
“There’s a big change in the guidelines,” said Doctor Ed Howard an Interventional Cardiologist with Virginia Heart.
“This is based on raw data from hundreds of thousands of millions of patients.”
The threshold for high blood pressure was 140 over 90. Now, it’s 130 over 80.
The guidelines triple the number of men with high blood pressure under 45 and doubles the number of women under 45.
The American Heart Association (AHA) also added a new category called “elevated blood pressure.”
“Now, from 120-129 you are now in this sort of danger zone,” he added.
Howard’s been studying vascular disease for almost 20 years, and he said the emphasis for the guideline changes is on prevention.
“Making the lifestyle changes you need to make improving your diet low in sodium and high in potassium. Low in fat and exercise,” he said.
High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes or worse.
“The reason we changed the guidelines is because of the increasing levels of data that suggest, even the low level of hypertension, can have a significant negative impact on your long term life.”
ABC7 News also checked the effects this change will have on acquiring health insurance. High blood pressure is considered a pre-existing condition, but chances of you getting denied coverage are pretty slim; unless you are very sick. However, you could see your premiums go up.