New blood pressure guidelines will impact many Nebraskans

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The rest are urged to try healthier lifestyles first.

There was a need to tighten the definition of high blood pressure, said Dr A B Chandorkar, interventional cardiologist who has been actively involved in setting up norms and methods of primary prevention.

Experts have just redefined what counts as high blood pressure, which means the number of people with it is about to rise by tens of millions in the United States alone - and all those people are advised to start thinking about lifestyle changes. She says two years ago there was a study that shows targeting a lower blood pressure goal results in better outcomes.

The change results in an additional 14 percent of USA adults with high pressure, but doctors say only 2 percent of these newly added people need medication.

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Doctors are also allowed to medically treat more aggressively. University of Nebraska Medical Center Associate Professor of Internal Medicine Dr. Rae Witt says those numbers have been lowered. Most importantly, they play a unique role in providing and ensuring support for population-wide behavior changes to both prevent and control high blood pressure. It is second only to smoking.

The authors of the new guidelines are hoping that they'll be particularly helpful in diagnosing younger people at an earlier stage, before serious damage is done.

The findings were based on 10,903 patient records covering a period between 2007 and 2013. People with risk factors like obesity, tobacco usage and others also need to reasonably maintain blood pressure levels at 130/80, added the cardiologist. "People are recommended to monitor their blood pressure a week before your doctor's visit", says Barr.

A panel of healthcare associations, including the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, published new criteria this week redefining what classified as hypertension or high blood pressure.