US NEWS MED-DOCTORS-POLITICS LA

Ei Yupar Win, left, measures a patient's blood pressure during the general medical screening area during the Hsi Lai Temple Health Fair, in Hacienda Heights, Calif., on May 10, 2015. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Marcus Yam

Here's some bad news right before the holiday season: 30 million more Americans have high blood pressure today than they did last week.

Heart doctors on Monday said that the old standard of 140 over 90 for blood pressure was too high, and that an acceptable reading now should be no more than 130 over 80. That change means that 46 percent of American adults, or about 103 million people, now could be diagnosed with hypertension.

That's up for 32 percent under the old guidelines.

Most of those added people will be urged to change their diets and get more exercise rather than take medication.

While significant, the change is not as big as some experts expected after a study in 2015 showed reaching even lower readings saved lives.

Blood pressure matters so much because it tends to rise as people age and slowly damage blood vessels, increasing risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other health problems.

Amanda St. Amand • 314-340-8201

@mandystlpd on Twitter

astamand@post-dispatch.com

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