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New guidelines classify nearly half of U.S. adults as having high blood pressure

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 blood pressure has long meant a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90. The new top reading is 130 and bottom reading 80, major heart groups announced Monday.

The change results in an additional 14% of U.S. adults with high blood pressure, but doctors say only 2% 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 Assn. conference in Anaheim.

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