New guidelines say nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure

New blood pressure guidelines put 46 percent of Americans in the high blood pressure category. (MGN Online)

The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations released new high blood pressure guidelines.

The new guidelines said high blood pressure should be treated at 130/80 rather than 140/90. The new "normal" reading was defined as less than 120/80.

The new guidelines put 46 percent of Americans in the high blood pressure category. 50 percent of adult men in the U.S. were said to be diagnosed with Stage 1 Hypertension. 36 percent of adult women in the U.S. would be diagnosed with Stage 1 Hypertension.

The report found 14 percent more Americans would be diagnosed with high blood pressure. The number of people in the U.S. with high blood pressure was expected to jump from 72.2 million Americans to 103.3 million Americans.

Authors of the report said new patients should be counseled about lifestyle changes, but only a few will be prescribed medication.

Doctors encouraged those with high blood pressure to watch salt intake, exercise more regularly, relax, get the proper amount of sleep, and eat more potassium rich fruits and vegetables.

The authors of the report said hypertension or high blood pressure was second only to smoking for causing preventable heart disease and stroke deaths. Doctors in the report said they expect to see the new guidelines have the largest impact among younger and middle-age adults.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, was one of the major risk factors for heart disease the number-one killer in Missouri. Experts suggested speaking to doctors about your condition and how to check your blood pressure at home.

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