New rules say 46 percent of Americans have hypertension

Posted November 15, 2017

The American Heart Association released a major update regarding new blood pressure guidelines and under the changes, more Americans are considered to have high blood pressure.

Despite an increase in the amount of Americans with high blood pressure, the AHA hopes their new guidelines mean there will be only a small increase in the amount of patients requiring medication.

"We now know that a blood pressure level between 130-139/80-89 doubles your risk of cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack compared to people whose blood pressure is under 120/80", says Paul Whelton, M.D. The Association now generally recommends that patients with Stage 1 hypertension only be prescribed medication in the event of a heart attack or stroke, and they're also recommending that pharmaceutical companies combine multiple blood pressure drugs.

The blood pressure categories have changed under the new guidelines.

Potentially deadly high blood pressure can be brought under control with a wide array of medications, many sold as relatively affordable generics.

The number of adults with high blood pressure, or hypertension, will rise to 103 million from 72 million under the previous standard.

But the drugs have side effects and the new guidelines emphasize lifestyle changes including weight loss, diet and exercise as the first tool for combating hypertension. "The days are pretty much over when doctors could walk into the office and tell people what to do, write a prescription and expect them to comply", he said on Twitter Tuesday.

But patients in the 120 systolic blood pressure group had a higher rate of kidney injury or failure, as well as fainting.

More guidance for how people should manage their blood pressure, focusing on lifestyle improvements.

FOX Business reached out to some of the top pharma companies named above but did not immediately receive a comment on how the new guidelines could potentially impact sales going forward.

Hypertensive crisis is systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.