Upstate health professionals weigh in on new blood pressure guid - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate health professionals weigh in on new blood pressure guidelines

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Upstate health professionals weigh in on new blood pressure guidelines (FOX Carolina: 11/14/17). Upstate health professionals weigh in on new blood pressure guidelines (FOX Carolina: 11/14/17).

After a major shift in the medical community when it comes to the lowering threshold for high blood pressure, Dr. Mark Godenick with Family Medicine at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System said he expects to see more patients in his office that he has to treat.

While he said it may mean more people getting more help, he also said it means fewer people may suffer from chronic illness or serious disease down the line. 

"I think it's really going to enhance our population's health because our blood pressure is one of the main things that leads to so many of our chronic illness," said Dr. Godenick.

The biggest shock in this new data perhaps, is that adults with a blood pressure of 130-139 over 80-89 are now considered stage 1 of the high blood pressure scale. That range used to be normal.

This now means about half of the nation's population now land in that category.

"It's a very big number but there are some very quick steps things that people can be doing right now to take advantage and try to work on this challenge," said Dr. Ron Gimbel, President of the Upstate American Heart Association Board. 

Dr. Gimbel said keeping your blood pressure in check can prevent things like heart disease, stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.

He said that starts with eliminating things like salt and processed foods, adding in exercise, and quitting smoke if you do so.

"Trying to tackle some of our health challenges early on and lifestyle changes what we eat, how we move, whether we smoke, critically important," said Dr. Gimbel.

Dr. Godenick agreed and said those are all things adults and even children should focus on.

He said family doctors typically start monitoring blood pressure starting at age 6.

By age 13, he said most doctors monitor those levels the same way they do adults.

"Basically in the past from age 13 to 18 that we tend to use the guidelines that are current for adults to use those in children. But really work on the lifestyle modifications with the children," said Dr. Godenick.

Dr. Gimbel said a big challenge now, is continuing to raise awareness and now incorporating this new information.

"We have our work cut out even more than we did before," said Dr. Gimbel.

If you'd like to learn more about all the resources the Upstate American Heart Association has to offer, you can click here.

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