Changes to one’s lifestyle can help blood pressure
New guidelines mean more will have to focus on healthier moves
New guidelines for what constitutes high blood pressure readings leave Americans with a decision: get healthier, or suffer the consequences.
Monday, The American Heart Association lowered the threshold for high blood pressure, which previously had been defined as a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90. Now, the new recommendations drop those numbers to 130 over 80, the Associated Press reports.
As a result, 46 percent of U.S. adults will be identified as having high blood pressure, compared with 32 percent under the previous definition, the American Heart Association notes.
Those who fall between 120 and 129 will be considered elevated, and anyone at 120/80 and lower will fall into the normal category.
So what happens if you fall into the 120-129 over 80 or less category? The American Heart Association says doctors will suggest healthy lifestyle changes, and reassess the blood pressure readings in six months, to see if those actions improve the readings.
Healthy lifestyle changes can include eating a hearthealthy diet, reducing salt, and adding foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, potatoes, avocados and dark leafy veggies. The American Heart Association says other actions include weight loss, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and exercising more.
For people who fall into the 130-139 over 80-89 range, they would be treated for stage 1 high blood pressure, and be given a 10-year heart disease and stroke risk assessment. Depending on those results, they would either face lifestyle changes, or lifestyle changes and medication.
Those whose readings are higher than 140 over 90 would be classified as having stage 2 high blood pressure, with treatment including lifestyle changes and two different classes of medication, the American Heart Association reports.
The common theme here is lifestyle changes. High blood pressure is “a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” according to the American Heart Association, yet lifestyle changes can have a major impact on blood pressure. The AP reports that “poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 percent of high blood pressure.”
So essentially readers, changing one’s lifestyle and adopting healthier habits can be the changing factor to shape the remainder of your life. It might a challenging road to take at first, but the alternative — a lifetime on blood pressure medication — isn’t all that great either. It seems like an easy decision to make.
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