By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New guidelines released on Monday say almost half of the adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, a condition that could have fatal consequences.

The American Heart Association had been considering this change for a while.

Research showed the risk for heart disease was lower among people who are in the lower category, so that’s why they made the change in an effort to stop the so called silent killer.

Overnight, 30 million adults were added to a list of Americans with high blood pressure.

Anyone with a top reading higher than 130 or a bottom reading that tops 80 now fall in the danger zone.

That’s a 10 point difference from the previous chart.

Nearly 50 percent of all American adults now fall into this category. That has people like Amanda Mack worried.

“You’re talking about one in two, that could be me, that could be my friend,” Mack said. “It’s more prevalent now, you have to realize now is the time to do something about this.”

Inactivity, too much sodium, fat, and even alcohol, have been labeled as some of the root causes.

“But I do think that people really do need to watch all those things, because high blood pressure is a killer,” said Carol Morris, of Baltimore.

According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure develops slowly over time, and some patients show no sign something is wrong.

“So with the newer guidelines, the physicians are going to actually be tagging these patients and saying, ‘You have elevated blood pressure. You need to address this through lifestyle modifications, because if you don’t, you are placing yourself at the highest risk for having a stroke or a heart attack,'” said Dr. Ali Tabrizchi, a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Institute at LifeBridge Health.

Baltimore resident Rodrick Burns survived a heart attack, and he said people should start listening to their bodies now.

“You sit, and you eat, and you eat, and the next thing you know, you’re having problems. You’re having a stroke, you’re having heart attack and that’s too late,” Burns said.

Even though more American fall in this category, not everyone is going to need medication to lower their blood pressure.

Dr, Tabrizchi says you can see changes in as few as three months if you just eat well and exercise.

Experts say only half of all American with high blood pressure actually have it under control.

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Ava-joye Burnett


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