American Heart Association announces new blood pressure guidelines

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For the first time in 14 years, the American Heart Association has updated its blood pressure guideline. 

"Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined." - American Heart Association

The AHA recently announced that persistently elevated blood pressures at or above 130 systolic or 80 diastolic indicate hypertension.

Because untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke, the AHA's Go Red for Women campaign is urging women to 'Know your Numbers'. Knowing your numbers includes staying on top of your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index results. 

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year which is more than all cancers combined. The good news is that up to 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes may be prevented, if women know their risks, learn the facts about heart disease and take action to live healthy.

While there is no cure for high blood pressure, it can be managed with assistance from your doctor. Treatment can include diet, exercise, reducing salt consumption, moderating alcohol intake, medication and losing weight. 

Candace Byrd lost both her grandmothers to heart disease. 

"We can't change being a women, we can't change how old we are, we can't change our race, but we can change the education that we have around heart disease and how it affects women," Byrd said. "We [can] conduct our lives in a healthier way, whether it's by changing our eating habits [or] becoming a little bit more active."

As an advisory board member of the Metro Atlanta AHA, Byrd urges women to know their family medical history and get active with Go Red for Women in their community to help save lives.

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