High Blood Pressure (HBP) is known, and rightfully so, as "The Silent Killer." That's the perfect name for it, because there are no real symptoms of HBP. Now, due to some changes in what the medical community considers HBP, more people will need to seek help for the condition. Last night when you went to bed, you may have felt perfectly normal, but as of this morning, you are a blood pressure patient. How did this happen? It seems that the standards for high blood pressure have been re figured and, as a result, more people are going to fit in that category.

The new standards look like this:

-Normal: Under 120 over 80

-Elevated: Top number 120-129 and bottom less than 80

-Stage 1: Top of 130-139 or bottom of 80-89

-Stage 2: Top at least 140 or bottom at least 90

That means 46 percent of U.S. adults have high pressure (stages 1 or 2) versus 32 percent under the old levels.

How common it is will roughly triple in men under 45, to 30 percent, and double in women of that age, to 19 percent.

For folks over 65, the standards have changed as well. A few years back, some of the standards for high blood pressure were relaxed somewhat, but now, the advice is that everyone in the 65+ age group should seek treatment if their top number is over 130. The old guidelines stated that it was not necessary to seek treatment unless that top number was 150 or more.That adjustment is going to add a lot of names to the list of people with HBP.

Dr. Jackson Wright, a guidelines panel member from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center says:

"The evidence with this is so solid, so convincing, that it's hard to argue with the targets. Older people have a 35-to-50-fold higher risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke compared to younger people."


These guidelines don't mean that you will necessarily start taking HBP meds if your numbers are slightly elevated. There are cases where HBP can be treated with proper diet and exercise. Naturally, doctors are recommending that smokers should stop and and people should curtail their alcohol intake as well.

The moral of this story is to make an appointment with your doctor to see if you have HBP. Researchers say that you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least once a year. Obviously, if you are diagnosed with HBP, you'll want to have it checked much more frequently. In fact, if you are diagnosed with HBP, you should have your own BP gauge and check your numbers frequently.

Another important thing to consider is the fact that even some kids have HBP, so get the kids checked as well. Nothing beats catching a problem early.

As someone who was diagnosed with HBP several years ago, due to the new standards, you should make an appointment with your doctor so you know where you stand. Even if your physician gave you a prescription to help treat your HBP, you should also go ahead and make some lifestyle changes as well.

HBP is nothing to be flip about. High Blood pressure can also lead to stroke and that, my friends, can alter your lifestyle for you and for good. Make an appointment with you doctor soon.