Half of US adults have high blood pressure in new guidelines

FILE - In this June 6, 2013, file photo, a patient has her blood pressure checked by a registered nurse in Plainfield, Vt. New medical guidelines announced Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — New medical guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition. That means now nearly half of U.S. adults have it.

High pressure has long meant a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90. That drops to 130 over 80 in advice announced Monday by major heart groups.

The change results in an additional 14 percent of U.S. adults with high pressure, but doctors say only 2 percent of these newly added people need medication. The rest are urged to try healthier lifestyles first.

High blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease, stroke and other problems.

The guidelines were announced at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim, California.

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