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New guidelines shift what is considered to be high blood pressure

(Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group) 

For the first time in 14 years, new guidelines change what's considered to be high blood pressure-- and that means a lot more of you are going to be impacted by this "silent killer."

New guidelines released by the American Heart Association define high blood pressure as a reading higher than 130 over 80. It used to be 140 over 90. So now instead of one in three American adults being impacted, now nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure.

"People that exercise for 20-30 min a day at least 3 times a week had a lower rate of cardiovascular disease. People can exercise, start instituting a diet more similar to the Mediterranean diet," Dr. Richard Benson with Medstar Washington Hospital Center said.

Benson hopes the stricter definition will be a wake-up call for patients to take high blood pressure more seriously. It's a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but improvements in diet and exercise can be quite effective at lowering your blood pressure.

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