New Guidelines for Treating High Blood Pressure

New study suggest old standards for treating high blood pressure may not apply.
3:00 | 12/18/13

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Transcript for New Guidelines for Treating High Blood Pressure
And now a headline tonight about staying healthy and something everyone should know about blood pressure. One in three americans has high blood pressure, millions take drugs to lower the number. But a new study in the journal of the american medical association today says it may be time for a big change. And abc's senior national correspondent jim avila tells us about it. Reporter: It's one of the most important tests your doctor gives, every checkup begins with a family cuff and pump because high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke and is a leading symptom of diabetes. For three deck aeds doctors put people with blood pressure over 140 on medication. Today's new recommendation is 150 for those over 60. Based on these guidelines you can feel comfortable saying if you have that patient below 150 you're at your goal. Reporter: It's the first major change in 30 years and enough to give patients high blood pressure on its own because doctors are dueling over how high is too high for the 60 million americans struggling to keep their blood pressure below 140. Today the committee said it changed the guidelines because there is a more realistic goal. Having the ability to get them to goal without overmedicating them I think is very encouraging and exciting. Reporter: Both the american heart association and the american college of cardiology disagree, asking why change what's working. In fact, blood pressure at 140 has been the standard, strokes has been reduced by 70% and heart failure by half. This is not the time to relax about this silent killer. We have to do everything we can to prevent strokes, heart failure and death. Reporter: What's a frustrated patient over 60 to do? Know the debate and ask your own doctor to weigh in. Jim avila. Abc news, washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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