When was the last you had your blood pressure checked?
If you've been putting off a visit to the doctor, you'll want to change that after reading about the new guidelines.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology just announced that they have lowered their threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to the number that already have the condition.
Prior to the new guidelines, a top reading was 140/90 millimeters of mercury, but now it has been dropped to 130/80, which means 46% of Americans are threading the danger zone.
The new cut-off was set because recent studies revealed that the old one wasn't as effective in determining whether or not a patient is under the threat of hypertension. Since high blood pressure is the second-leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, it was crucial for health experts to readjust the numbers.
"We now know that a blood pressure level between 130-139/80-89 doubles your risk of cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack compared to people whose blood pressure is under 120/80," explained Paul Whelton, M.D., lead author of the new guidelines and professor of global public health at Tulane University.
"I have no doubt there will be controversy. I'm sure there will be people saying 'We have a hard enough time getting to 140,'" he continued.
So where does your reading fall under the new guidelines for hypertension?