New blood pressure guidelines to watch


You may want to take another look at your blood pressure.  The American Heart Association just redefined it. 

Jim Pomeroy was a marathon runner and thought he was in great condition until he had a heart attack at the age of fifty.  “My blood pressure would run about 138 over 80,” he said.

According to new guidelines, the American Heart Association said 130 over 80, or higher, is hypertensive.  Until recently, hypertensive was defined as 140 over 90, or above.  Cardiologist and Christus St. Michael Chief of Staff Dr. Kiran Kurichety said, “If your blood pressure is elevated it doubles your risk for heart attack.” 

Experts now classify fourty-eight percent of Americans as having some type of heart disease.  Kurichety said, “The modifiable risks that we look at are hypertension, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle.  Those are things that put people more at risk.”  Kurichety added that a key takeaway from the new guidelines is that people need to be more proactive about their health.

According to the Texas Health Institute, up to twenty-one percent of Texarkana-area residents smoke and up to thirty-five percent are obese.  Kurichety said, “Once they have been singled out as having more risk, I think people have to take it upon themselves to do something to help minimize the risk for the future.”

Though Pomeroy didn’t smoke, he said he ate a lot of fast food when he traveled and had a family history.  “Men on both sides of my family died of heart disease,” he said.  Since his heart attack, Pomeroy, now seventy-two, eats more vegetables and less red meat.  He also has as primary care physician.  “My goal in life is to live as long as I can, as well as I can.  And that takes a little work,” he said.

Read more about the American Heart Association’s study here:

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