More than 103 million Americans will have high blood pressure under new guidelines

Known as the "silent killer," it raises risk of cardiac problems and strokes.

The change is outlined in the American Heart Association 2017 Hypertension Practice Guidelines, an extensive report by experts without relevant ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

The new guidelines reflect years of research, which have shown that people within the new range of blood pressure defined as hypertension have doubled their risk of cardiovascular problems in the future, such as heart attacks or strokes. As such, health care professionals should be identifying these patients and helping to initiate interventions to bring down blood pressure.

Doctors in the guidelines stress the importance of using two separate blood pressure readings on two different occasions to diagnose hypertension. They recommend that those with hypertension use approved blood pressure monitors at home. Writing down these readings at home can help tell the difference between people with truly abnormal blood pressure and those with “white-coat syndrome” -- with high blood pressure only under stress like at the doctor’s office.

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiac problems and strokes, and is sometimes called “the silent killer” because so many adults live with high blood pressure and don’t know it.

To help understand the new hypertension guidelines and how they affect managing your health, see your healthcare professional.