Updated blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association mean that many more Americans, notably older people, are now diagnosed with high blood pressure, or hypertension. This may sound like bad news, but the new guidelines highlight some important lessons we cardiologists and heart health researchers have learned from the latest blood pressure studies. Specifically, we have learned that damage from high blood pressure starts at much lower blood pressures than previously thought and that it is more important than ever to start paying attention to your blood pressure before it starts causing problems.
High blood pressure accounts for more heart disease and stroke deaths than all other preventable causes, except smoking.
As president of the AHA and a cardiologist, I completely support the latest guidelines. I know they will save lives, especially when blood pressure is accurately checked and when people make therapeutic lifestyle choices to lower their blood pressure.
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