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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The American Heart Association has changed the definition of hypertension for the first time in 14 years, moving the number from the old standard of 140/90 to the newly revised 130/80.The change is outlined in the American Heart Association 2017 Hypertension Practice Guidelines, an extensive report by experts without relevant ties to the pharmaceutical industry.The changes are expected to drastically impact adult Americans: revising the hypertension threshold downward will increase the percent of U.S. adults living with high blood pressure from 32 percent to 46 percent -- nearly half of the adult population. It will also disproportionately affect younger people by tripling the number of men under 45 and doubling the number of women under 45 with the diagnosis.The new guidelines reflect years of research, which have shown that people within the new range of blood pressure defined as hypertension have doubled their risk of cardiovascular problems in the future, such as heart attacks or strokes. As such, health care professionals should be identifying these patients and helping to initiate interventions to bring down blood pressure.While the new guidelines significantly increase the number of Americans with a diagnosis of hypertension, they do not suggest a proportionate increase in treating with medication. The number of Americans with hypertension who are recommended for medical treatment would increase by only 4.2 million adults, or 5 percent more than were previously recommended. Medication will be recommended for patients with previous cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, or significant cardiovascular risk factors determined by factors such as age, blood tests and having other medical conditions that increase risk of heart attack.The study authors recommend lifestyle changes, including exercise, diet modifications and weight loss, as the first step to reducing high blood pressure.Doctors in the guidelines stress the importance of using two separate blood pressure readings on two different occasions to diagnose hypertension. They recommend that those with hypertension use approved blood pressure monitors at home. Writing down these readings at home can help tell the difference between people with truly abnormal blood pressure and those with “white-coat syndrome” -- with high blood pressure only under stress like at the doctor’s office.High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiac problems and strokes, and is sometimes called “the silent killer” because so many adults live with high blood pressure and don’t know it.To help understand the new hypertension guidelines and how they affect managing your health, see your healthcare professional.
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  • Courtesy Nia and Robert Tolbert(WALDORF, Md.) -- One couple, who welcomed a child in 2011, then twins in 2015, are now expecting triplets next year.Nia and Robert Tolbert of Waldorf, Maryland, couldn't believe their luck when they discovered at a routine prenatal doctor's visit back in August that they were expecting three girls."When we were expecting twins, our technician that was doing the ultrasound asked if multiples ran in our family. So this time around, the technician asked the same thing and I thought, 'Oh, we must be having twins again,'" Nia Tolbert, 28, recalled to ABC News.But when doctors eventually told her she was having triplets, she admitted "everything kind of spiraled out of control."Nia Tolbert decided to share the big news with her husband of three years in a special way -- by leaving Robert Tolbert, 31, a giftbag coupled with a handwritten note.Initially, he thought the gift bag contained a FitBit, since he'd been hinting at getting one for weeks, Robert Tolbert told ABC News. Instead, he found out just what would help keep him running around the house -- three more children.On a handwritten card, Nia Tolbert wrote: "Please accept this gift from me and God.""I opened the bag and I saw a very, very long sonogram," Robert Tolbert continued. "Then I saw three onesies in the bag ... and they were numbered 1, 2, and 3."The now father of six admitted that he "fainted" when he realized what his wife was telling him. "I was just shocked," he added. "I just went straight to bed."The growing family has since recovered from the shock, and now can't wait to expand their family."We’re already planning for our new our household. It's going to be equally balanced now -- with three little girls and three little boys," Nia Tolbert noted."But we're not too concerned," she added. "I know we’re not going to sleep for a couple years, our grocery bill is going to go up, and our house is not going to be quiet and that's OK."
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  • Support Dogs Inc.(NEW YORK) -- This 6-month-old kitten holds his own among 23 support dogs.DOG the cat, pronounced dee-OH-gee, isn’t just named after canines, he also thinks he is one.The friendly feline lives at Support Dogs, Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri, and helps train the pups.“He rules the roost. He is the boss,” owner Anne Klein told ABC News.Klein said DOG has become a “training tool” for the assistance dogs as they through their two-year training process to be placed, free of charge, with people who have mobility issues, are deaf or hard of hearing. The dogs are also used in courtrooms during difficult situations for children.“In our training, our dogs have to be so well-behaved and not be reactive in many situations, so when a cat goes scampering in front of them and they’re in a down-stay, the command, they don’t go running after him,” said Klein. “They have to be well-behaved and not get distracted. He’ll go scampering by and they have to be good, obedient.”DOG certainly gives them a run for their money. Klein said he loves to pull at the pup’s tails and bat at their noses.But mostly, “he’ll just snuggle up with them on their dog beds,” she said.The kitten has a 5-foot-tall kitty condo in the middle of the office where he lives. Klein said when her staff returns in the morning, you can tell right away how rambunctious DOG has been overnight.“Oftentimes when we come in the morning, he’s taken push pins off our bulletin boards and rearranged our papers,” she said with a laugh. “We’re not sure what he’s doing at night but he’s rearranging things to his liking.”Despite his pesky behavior, “He’s certainly won the hearts of lots of dog lovers,” Klein said of everyone in their office.“He’s definitely earned his keep, even though he’s cat,” she added.
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  • Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- After a 2011 semi-truck accident crushed his hip and legs, Buddy Rich's weight increased to over 300 pounds and he fell into a suicidal depression.“The one thing that stopped me was my daughter,” the Florida military veteran said of his thoughts of suicide. His daughter was born just three weeks before the accident.Rich had served in U.S. Army as a specialist in an engineering detachment from 2003 to 2008 and in the Army Reserves from 2008 to 2011. Afterward, he returned to school and worked for a delivery company. One of his closest friends in the military had committed suicide after they had both retired from service.Rich was inspired to try yoga to cut his weight and strengthen his muscles after he stumbled across a viral video of another disabled vet named Arthur Boorman who lost weight following a yoga plan by former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.In the years that followed, Rich reduced his weight by 125 pounds and regained much of his mobility.Just a few weeks ago, he taught his daughter how to ride a bike while running alongside her.“I never thought I was going to get to wrestle with my kids, pick them up, anything. [Now] I can be a dad again,” said Rich.He was surprised when Diamond Dallas Page showed up on the doorstep of his Apollo Beach, Florida, home to congratulate him on his successful training and to do a backyard workout with Rich.“I can’t believe the dude who like changed my life is in front of me,” said Rich, “It’s unbelievable.”
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Consuming alcoholic beverages, even in moderation, may increase your risk of developing certain cancers, according to a new statement released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)."People typically don't associate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes," Dr. Bruce Johnson, president of the ASCO, an organization of cancer doctors, said in a statement."The link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established," Johnson added. He said he hopes that this knowledge empowers doctors "to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer."The new review of past studies on the link between alcohol and cancer, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to alcohol consumption.In addition, researchers said that in 2012, approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths globally could be attributed to drinking alcohol.Although heavy, long-term, drinkers were found to have the greatest risks of developing cancer, even modest alcohol consumption may increase cancer risk, researchers said in the publication.If a drinker stops consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, however, their risk of cancer reverts back to that of non-drinkers, according to the researchers' analysis.The 11-page ASCO statement on alcohol and cancer also says that "associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverages," meaning the link between alcohol and certain cancers was not specific to consumption of just beer, wine, or other types of liquor.In addition to increasing risk factors for certain types of cancer, the ASCO review also found that drinking alcohol can have an adverse effect on treatment and outcomes for patients with cancer."Limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer," Dr. Noelle LoConte, one of the publication's authors and a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin said in a statement.LeConte said the new ASCO statement joins other public health organizations "in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer.""The good news is that, just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer," LoConte added.
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