Health: Blood Pressure High?

A new definition of normal makes 45 million Americans prehypertensive

Doctors have known for years that anyone with a blood-pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher has a greatly increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke or developing kidney problems. But the more scientists learn about how hypertension affects various arteries and organs, the more they realize the damage begins long before that somewhat arbitrary cutoff. This growing awareness prompted the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) last week to revise its blood-pressure guidelines so that 45 million Americans whose blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89--a level that was once considered to be on the high...

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