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New blood pressure guidelines put half of U.S. adults in unhealthy range

First major update since 2003 aims to spur heart-healthy lifestyle changes

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7:01pm, November 13, 2017

DOUBLE CHECK  New blood pressure guidelines redefine what constitutes high blood pressure. A patient’s levels should be based on the average of two or three readings taken on at least two different occasions, the authors say.

ANAHEIM, Calif.  — Nearly half of U.S. adults now have high blood pressure, thanks to a new definition of what constitutes high: 130/80 is the new 140/90. That means that 103 million people — up  from 72 million under the old definition — need to make diet and exercise changes and, in some cases, take medication to lower their risk of heart attack or stroke.

These new blood pressure guidelines, the first major update since 2003, were announced November 13 at the American Heart Association’s annual scientific sessions and published in Hypertension and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“It’s very clear that lower is better,” said Paul Whelton of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, lead author of the guidelines, at a news conference.

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