Under pressure: New blood pressure guidelines lowered to 130/80

New blood pressure standards

Thirty million Americans are getting some bad health news: they have high blood pressure and need to do something about it, according to new aggressive hypertension treatment guidelines released by heart doctors Monday.

Doctors and other experts from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and nine other groups, are moving the goal line for blood pressure control, meaning 46% of U.S. adults -- about 103 million -- could now be diagnosed with hypertension. That's up from 32% -- or 72 million -- under older guidelines.

Most of those added people will be urged to change their diets, exercise more and make other lifestyle changes; rather than take medication.

The guidelines also call on patients already in treatment to work toward the lower goal -- a reading of no more than 130/80, which is down from the old standard of 140/90. While significant, the change is not as big as some experts expected after a study in 2015 showed reaching even lower readings saved lives.

WZZM Health Reporter Valerie Lego randomly test the blood pressure of fellow co-workers to see who has some work to do under the new guidelines.

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