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Got High Blood Pressure? A Personalized Diet from MRC Can Help!


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The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a long-awaited update to the medical guidelines for identifying and managing high blood pressure. As published in the journal of Hypertension, the American College of Cardiology, the AHA and nine professional health organizations, compiled a 192-page document* written by a panel of 21 scientists and health experts. The collective recommendations came from a review of over 900 published studies on hypertension. Under the new guidelines, millions of Americans (about 46%) will now be diagnosed with high blood pressure. Although the new definition of high blood pressure means more cases of hypertension across adults of all ages, the prevalence of the disease among men under 45 is expected to triple and double the prevalence for women of the same age group.

103 Million Now Have High Blood Pressure

When you go for your next checkup, don't be surprised if your doctor or healthcare provider tells you that you have high blood pressure. A blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 still will be considered normal, but levels at or above, will be identified as elevated. Previously, high blood pressure was defined as 140 or higher for the systolic measurement and 90 or higher for the diastolic number. According to the new scientific evidence, nearly half of American adults are at risk for major health problems because of hypertension. Since high blood pressure is second only to smoking as a preventable cause of heart attacks and strokes in our country, few risk factors are as important to your health.

Systolic versus Diastolic Pressures

Blood pressure readings measure the systolic pressure, or how much force the blood places on the walls of the arteries when the heart beats, and the diastolic pressure, the same force but when the heart rests between beats. The new AHA/ACC guidelines put blood pressure readings in five different categories including:

  • Normal Blood Pressure (120 - over less than 80)
  • Elevated Blood Pressure (120 to 129 - over less than 80)
  • Stage 1 Hypertension (130 to 139 - over 80 to 89)
  • Stage 2 Hypertension (140 or higher - over 90 or higher)
  • Hypertensive Crisis (above 180 - over 120 or higher)

The new guidelines eliminate the category of pre-hypertension, which was used for systolic readings between 120 and 139 or diastolic numbers between 80 and 89. Moreover, when a person's blood pressure reaches 180/120 or higher (either number in the blood pressure reading counts), the patient will be classified as in hypertensive crisis with need for immediate treatment and/or hospitalization.

Treating High Blood Pressure with a Personalized Diet

The reason new blood pressure guidelines lower the definition of high blood pressure is to allow for earlier intervention and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Doctors and healthcare professionals are now encouraged to first focus on healthy lifestyle changes for most patients. In the majority of new cases, people will not be prescribed medications for controlling blood pressure levels. According to the American Heart Association, the best prescription for newcomers to high blood pressure is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Overweight patients should immediately try losing weight by eating healthier and being more active.

As you age, your blood pressure tends to rise and slowly damage blood vessels, increasing your risks for heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other health problems. By the time your readings reach 130/80, the AHA says your risks have already doubled. Lifestyle modifications are now believed to be the cornerstone for treatment of hypertension at all stages. The AHA encourages everyone to exercise more, consume less salt, and eat real food, such as fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. In addition, the new guidelines stress that new patients assessed to be at high risk of cardiovascular problems also should be started on medication even at the lowest level of hypertension.

More than 30 years ago, the Metabolic Research Center was founded by doctors and dietitians who were dedicated to finding sustainable solutions for people looking to lose weight and restore their health and wellness. Whether you are a newcomer to taking care of your blood pressure or have been in treatment for years, our team can personalize a menu plan that will support your body's unique needs. Contact the MRC nearest you to get started on your journey to improved health right away.


DOWNLOADS - American Heart Association 2017 Blood Pressure Guidelines

Download PDF of Highlights from the American Heart Association & American Stroke Association for the 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults.

*Download PDF of full 192-page American Heart Association & American College of Cardiology 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Executive Summary. Originally published November 13, 2017 in AHA/ACC journal of Hypertension.

NOTE: Full 192-page document takes a few minutes to download.


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