The American Heart Association announced the new guidelines for high blood pressure in its conference in Anaheim on Monday. It also recommends “lifestyle modifications” for lowering and maintaining a normal blood pressure without taking medications.
The new guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, as the high blood pressure drops to 130 over 80 from 140 over 90. The normal blood pressure rate is under 120 over 80.
The change in the rate adds about 30 million Americans who have high blood pressure. It also means an added 14 percent of U.S. adults have the said condition. However, only two percent will need to take medication, while the rest will just have healthy lifestyles, according to ABC News.
Dr. Paul Whelton, a physician from Tulane University and who led the guidelines panel, said that he has no doubt there will be controversy. He further said that he is sure there will be people saying they have a hard enough time getting to 140. On the other hand, he added, that the risk for heart disease, stroke and other problems drops as blood pressure improves. He continues that the new advice “is more honest” about how many people have a problem.
To combat high blood pressure, the AHA recommends the following “lifestyle modifications,” which are based on the latest research.
1. Maintain normal, healthy weight.
People must maintain a normal and healthy weight. The normal body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. Physicians also recommend losing one kilogram at a period of time to get to the normal and healthy weight. With this, the average American could have one mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure for every one-kilogram reduction in body weight.
2. Have regular exercises.
One type of exercise that could lower blood pressure is aerobic exercise. Meanwhile, the AHA recommends dynamic and isometric resistance exercises for strength training. Dynamic exercises include squats, tricep dips, and bicep curls.
3. Have this DASH diet.
New York Times reports that DASH diet could lower blood pressure by as much as 11 points. DASH features vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
It is also recommendable to reduce sodium intake. The low sodium and high potassium diets could lower the systolic blood pressure by about four to six mmHg.
4. Drink alcohol in moderation.
Drinking in moderation could lower the systolic blood pressure by up to four mmHg. AHA advises men to drink less than or up to two drinks every day. And for women, up to one drink each day.
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