If you don’t have high blood pressure, odds are that someone very close to you does. Nearly half of American adults have it, and many have no idea. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is referred to as the “silent killer” because there often are no symptoms. Yet the condition dramatically raises the risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure — even blindness.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology updated the guidelines last fall to redefine hypertension and how doctors should treat it.
The numbers for healthy blood pressure haven’t changed much except that 120/80 mmHg is now the upper limit for normal. The first number (systolic) represents the pressure on our vessel walls when our heart beats; the second number (diastolic) is the pressure when our heart rests between beats.
If blood pressure is higher than 120/80, risk goes up.
For years, “hypertension” was defined as a blood pressure of 140/90 or higher. Now, 130/80 or higher is considered hypertension, making it easier to catch and address the problem early on.
Although medication may be needed to treat high blood pressure, the new guidelines strongly recommend lifestyle changes as a first line of defense. Weight, physical movement, diet and alcohol consumption are all directly linked to blood pressure. To discover my five key strategies to help stack the odds in our favor, hop on our over to my NOLA.com article.