New guidelines for high blood pressure show more Americans affected

If you haven't checked you blood pressure recently, you might want to.

If you haven't checked you blood pressure recently you might want to. 

New guidelines from the American Heart Association now classify nearly half the country’s adult population as having high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is deemed the "silent killer" because there are often no signs or symptoms, but yet it contributes to heart disease which is the number one cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Now, instead of 140/90, high blood pressure is defined as anything over 130/80 by the American Heart Association.  

It took a trip to the emergency room for Quincy Quinlan to realize he had high blood pressure. 

"I had a little fainting episode in the kitchen,” Quinlan said. “So then they ran some tests in the hospital and said go see Dr. G." 

Dr. Vivek Goswami, a cardiologist who practices at the Heart Hospital of Austin, said Quinlan was lucky because high blood pressure can be hard to detect and sometimes it’s not something people think about regularly.

"Sometimes the incentive to have this actively treated is low and that really shouldn't be the case,"  Dr. Goswami said. "If you have a systolic blood pressure of 130 or greater versus less than 120 your risk of having a heart attack or stroke goes up by two fold." 

"Dr. G recommended I watch the salt intake so I began to do more of that,” Quinlin said. “Then being a little bit more conscious of making myself go out and exercise. To me it's common sense and not much effort is required for a great investment in your health." 

Dr. Goswami said he hopes the recommendations will push more Americans to make some lifestyle changes.

"What it doesn't necessarily do is increase the amount of people that need or will benefit from medications," Dr. Goswami said.   

Instead he recommends losing extra weight, exercising 150 minutes per week, limiting salt to no more than 1500 milligrams per day, watching the alcohol intake and working to manage stress better. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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