Could the new blood pressure guideline harm your health?

Can the new blood pressure guideline harm your health

Recently, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have issued new blood pressure guidelines to redefine high blood pressure, or hypertension.

According to the new guidelines, if your blood pressure is measured at 130/80 mm Hg or higher, you are now considered to have high blood pressure.

In the new guidelines, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg; elevated blood pressure is systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80; stage 1 high blood pressure is systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89; and stage 2 high blood pressure is systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg.

Finally, high blood pressure crisis is systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120.

According to experts, the benefit of this update is an awareness of cardiovascular health through early detection, proper blood pressure management and lifestyle modifications.

However, since the new guidelines were published, lots of research has shown concerns about them.

For example, researchers from Texas A&M University suggest that the new guidelines will increase high blood pressure diagnosis.

Rather than one in three U.S. adults having high blood pressure (32%) with the previous definition, the new guidelines will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46%) having high blood pressure.

According to a study from Tulane University, the new guidelines could bring the number of people receiving antihypertensive treatment up to 11 million.

The researchers estimate that 105.3 million, or more than 45%, of US adults 20 years and older have hypertension under the new guidelines compared to 74 million (32%) under the old ones.

The difference was greatest in men and those aged 40 to 59 years.

This could make millions of people anxious about their health conditions. For example, they may worry that they have a higher risk of heart disease.

Research said that this may lead to anxiety in people over their future health and make them use treatment they might not need.

So why lower the blood pressure threshold?

Researchers suggest that a key trigger for the decision to lower the diagnostic threshold appears to be the results of the US-based SPRINT trial.

The results show benefits to reducing blood pressure to a systolic reading of 120mmHg, rather than 140mmHg, for those at high risk of heart disease or stroke.

But the SPRINT trial tries to provide a “one size fits all” approach to lowering blood pressure and its results are hard to be replicated.

Researchers from University of Sydney suggest that the new blood pressure guidelines may put people’s lives at risk.

The harm comes from anxiety and depression about the diagnosis, unnecessary treatment, side effects from the treatment, and lack of insurance coverage.

But other researchers suggest that the new guidelines may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For example, one study published in Journal of the American Heart Association shows that the new guidelines can benefit stroke survivors most.

This is because the treatment of high blood pressure in stroke survivors becomes more aggressively, and hence it could cut deaths by one-third.

High blood pressure is a big risk factor of stroke, and more than half of all strokes are attributable to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

In addition, the new guidelines emphasize healthy lifestyle interventions. This includes Maintain a healthy diet; Reduce sodium intake to less than 1500 mg a day; Do not smoke; Exercise daily; GET adequate rest daily; Annually validate blood pressure monitor.

These healthy lifestyle habits can also help reduce risk of other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some types of cancer.

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