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Experts say more Mississippians are diagnosed with high bloo

Experts say more Mississippians are diagnosed with high blood pressure
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Blood pressure check during an event in Jackson
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) File

More Mississippians are being diagnosed with hypertension now that new national guidelines have been in place for months. Physicians and experts are trying to find ways to educate the public. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Physicians and patients are adapting to new standards for detecting and treating high blood pressure. The American Heart Association now says stage 1 begins when blood pressure reaches 130 over 80, which is lower than the previous standard of 140 over 90. By lowering the standards, experts say more Mississippians will be diagnosed.

Dr. Dan Jones is a professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and co-author of the new guidelines. He says some people newly diagnosed with hypertension are afraid.

"The new guidelines are not a reason to be fearful but a reason to pay attention and to have a conversation with your own healthcare provider about your blood pressure and respond with a healthy lifestyle. If needed, in consultation with your healthcare provider, use the medications that are available to lower blood pressure," said Jones.

Dr. Philip Mellen is a hypertension specialist at Hattiesburg Clinic.

"Lifetime instance of hypertension is 80 percent of the population. The odds are, if you live long enough you will develop high blood pressure so if we can bring the attention of people earlier we can halt some of the damage that can go undetected," said Mellen.

More information on the new guidelines for detecting and treating hypertension will be available today at an open forum at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Ashley Norwood, MPB News.