New guidelines mean nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure

BEDFORD — If you didn’t have high blood pressure yesterday, you might have it today. The American Heart Association and ten other health organizations rolled out new guidelines lowering the Stage 1 High Blood Pressure level from 140/90 to 130/80.

“This is what we would consider a tectonic shift in criteria,” said Dr. Neeraj Badhey, an Interventional Cardiologist at Texas Health HEB.

Under the new levels, the number of Americans with high blood pressure goes from 32% to 46%!

But don’t think these changes were just made at random.

“They took many, many years to come up with this criteria,” said Dr. Badhey. “This is almost after a decade that they’ve made a suggestion or change in guidelines to this degree.”

So if the new guidelines have shifted you from "OK" to "high blood pressure," what do you need to do?

“Typically if you’re in that zone, you can try diet and lifestyle modifications for three to six months and try to bring your blood pressure closer to the goal,” Dr. Badhey advised. “But if it’s not, then you’re going to need to be on medication.”

That’s a step you should take soon, because this is serious business, and no one is immune. Just Monday, the president of the American Heart Associate, John Warner, suffered a heart attack at a conference for the organization.

“Blood pressure is the silent killer,” said Badhey. “It’s the number one cause for stroke and heart attacks which are the number one killer in this country.”

So the goalposts may have moved on blood pressure, but if you don’t move with them you may end up regretting it big time.