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DEBBIE NORRELL

What’s behind this change in blood pressure stats? Have you heard the news that nearly half of all adult Americans will be considered to have high blood pressure under new guidelines issued last week by the nation’s top heart health organizations? The new guidelines lower the diagnostic threshold for stage 1 high blood pressure to 130/80, down from the previous level of 140/90, according to a joint statement from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. The guidelines also call for more aggressive treatment of high blood pressure, asking doctors and patients to set 130/80 as the new goal of therapy. This new change means that 103 million Americans will be considered to have high blood pressure, or about 46 percent of the adult population, said Dr. Paul Whelton. He is chair of the 2017 Hypertension Practice Guidelines and a professor of Global Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health.

I can understand that the AHA wants people to be healthy, but what I don’t like is there is going to be an increase of people on blood pressure medication. I believe that instead of the doctors promoting a healthy lifestyle, they will just write out a prescription. I went to the doctor recently. It was a new doctor and I think I was suffering from what is referred to as “white coat syndrome.” White coat hypertension, more commonly known as white coat syndrome, is a phenomenon in which patients exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range, in a clinical setting, though they don’t exhibit it in other settings. It is believed that the phenomenon is due to anxiety that those afflicted experience during a clinic visit. My blood pressure is usually in the normal range and I have never worried about it. On this day my blood pressure was 156/90. The night before the doctor’s visit I ate a heavy meal around midnight; on my way to the doctor I was concerned about a parking spot. The nurse told me the building was under construction and I had to enter the building through a different door. I forgot the doctor’s name and could not remember the code to gain access to the building. I was trying to rush through the doctor’s visit and make an audition. The nurse told me to wait a day or two and check my blood pressure. About three to four days after the visit it was back to normal.

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