Redefining “healthy” reveals that well over half of American adults are deemed at risk for hypertension and Heart Attack.
In an attempt to optimize standards that constitute “normal”, especially cardiac health, the American Heart Association placed more rigid criteria on blood pressure readings that qualify for pre-hypertension. The figures, which were previously established in 2003, stated that a pressure rating of 140/90 (systolic/diastolic) indicated an elevated risk of hypertension and heart attack. With guidelines updated November 13th, that number is now 130/80, placing half of the US adult population, or around 109 million people, at risk for the above mentioned conditions.
42% of all American adults have normal blood pressure, whereas the other 58% are at twice the risk of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, an additional 4 million patients will begin requiring medication to treat severe hypertension, a standard that is 1.9% higher than last year.
Though health experts like Paul Wheton of the Tulane school of public health argue that the new standards will promote effort on the part of Americans to improve cardiovascular health, the actual process is not at all easy. Lowering blood pressure is a far more strenuous process than is elevating it, as it requires a consistent, healthy, diet and several months time.
With the current situation in the United States, obesity rates spiking to 38 percent within the past three decades, and percentages of overweight adults reaching almost 60, time must be dedicated on re-defining what “healthy” is, as well as involvement on part of the national health sector in raising awareness on the cardiovascular pandemic that is defining Americans more than the values they represent.