by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer
Those without a high risk will be advised to improve their lifestyles — lose weight, eat healthy, exercise more, limit alcohol, avoid smoking. "It's not just throwing meds at something," said one primary care doctor who praised the new approach, the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Robert Stroebel. If people continue bad habits, "They can kind of eat and blow through the medicines," he said. The guidelines warn about some popular approaches, though. There's not enough proof that consuming garlic, dark chocolate, tea or coffee helps, or that yoga, meditation or other behavior therapies lower blood pressure long-term, they say.
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Context: The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association announced new comprehensive guidelines for evaluating blood pressure Monday, November 13 that will drastically increase the number of Americans who have hypertension.
The committee that drafted the new guidelines lowered the blood pressure range of what is considered normal. That means people whose blood pressure used to be considered prehypertension, or high normal, will now be considered elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association estimate that the change will affect more than 31 million Americans.
Watch: Dr. Sandra Taler discusses new blood pressure guidelines
Mayo Clinic Minute: Millions of Americans have hypertension under new blood pressure guidelines
Tips to lower high blood pressure: Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute