MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA/CNN) - You may need to get your blood pressure checked. Based on new guidelines released by the American Heart Association this week, nearly half of all Americans are now considered to have high blood pressure.
The old guidelines said that a person with a blood pressure of 140 over 90 or higher had high blood pressure. With the new guidance, both men and women should be treated if their blood pressure is 130 over 80 or higher.
Dr. Haitham Ahmed, a Preventative Cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic says, "Reducing the blood pressure under 130 over 80, lower than what we thought before, prevents more heart attacks, prevents more strokes, and prevents death and so that's why the guidelines have changed."
This does not mean millions of Americans now need medication, but doctors say Americans do need to make some lifestyle changes including: watching their salt intake, exercising more regularly and getting the right amount of sleep.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths in the United States.