Since 2003, fans throughout the world have enjoyed Ralphie May’s comedy. On October 6, at his home in Las Vegas, May, only 45 years old, was pronounced dead.
His death was originally ruled to be the result of an illness, as May was battling pneumonia at the time, but it was later discovered that wasn’t actually the case.
Page Six reports that medical examiners in Vegas have determined that his death was attributed to heart failure due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Hypertension is better known as high blood pressure, which can be caused or worsened by obesity.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 34.5% of men ages 20 years or older are obese and 32.6% either have high blood pressure or are taking prescription medications for hypertension. Thanks to new hypertension guidelines, however, those percentages could actually be much higher.
According to New York Daily News, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have changed the definition of hypertension. As a result of these new hypertension guidelines, about 50% of Americans will officially have high blood pressure.
Previous guidelines, which have been in place for years, defined high blood pressure as 140 over 90 millimeters or greater. Since the new guidelines have been released, high blood pressure is now defined as 130 over 80 or greater.
Americans actually have the highest rates of chronic diseases in the world, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. In fact, fully 87% of seniors have at least one chronic illness, while 68% have two or more.
With this adjustment from the American Heart Association, tens of millions more Americans will now be diagnosed as having hypertension. It’s estimated that with these guideline changes, it will drastically increase the number of men and women under the age of 45 years old who will be informed they have high blood pressure.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that a significant amount of more Americans will now be prescribed blood pressure medication, however. It’s projected that only 4.2 million of the expected 31 million more Americans who fall under these new guidelines will need drug treatment — everyone else will just have to pay attention to their weight and blood pressure a little more.