If you’re an American adult, there is a 46 percent chance you have high blood pressure. The odds increased in November when the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology issued new standards that lowered the threshold for the diagnosis of hypertension.
The new definition of Stage 1 high blood pressure is a systolic pressure of at least 130 or a diastolic pressure of 80 or above. Systolic refers to pressure during heart contractions, and diastolic refers to pressure between beats. The previous standard was 140/90.
The change meant 30 million more American adults have high blood pressure.
Brian Bostick, MD, PhD, is an MU Health Care cardiologist. In this Q&A, he explains the new standards and how you can keep your blood pressure in the normal range below 120/80.