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Under new guidelines, a million more Michiganders have high blood pressure

Dec 25, 2017

Credit Richy! / Flickr

A lot more Michigan residents are going to be told they need to bring down their blood pressure under new national hypertension guidelines.

In fact, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, an additional one million Michiganders -- or about 10% of the state population -- are now considered to have high blood pressure. 

That's because the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have redefined high blood pressure as starting at a reading of 130 systolic over 80 diastolic. The previous definition was 140/90.

"This new set of guidelines really allows us to focus better on those prevention aspects and life style changes that residents may want to consider making should they have high blood pressure," said Angela Minicuci, MDHHS spokesperson. "So they don't end up experiencing heart disease and stroke later on in life."

Minicuci said eating better, being more physically active, and quitting smoking are key things people can do to keep blood pressure down. 

She said hypertension is the same as high blood pressure and is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Some experts are concerned that the new definition of high blood pressure could lead to its overtreatment with medication with problematic side effects for some people.