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Arva Jackson's first warning sign she had high blood pressure was a heart attack. Now she's trying to stop that happening again.
Arva Jackson/ Hypertension Patient: "THE MEDICATIONS APPARENTLY KEEP ME AT A LEVEL SO THAT WHATEVER POTENTIAL THERE IS FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IS HELD AT BAY."
The new government guidelines are trying to hold high blood pressure at bay for millions of Americans.
Even levels as low as 120 over 80 that used to be considered good are now considered not good enough. They are said to be suffering from a condition called "pre-hypertension."
They do not need medication, but they do need to make lifestyle changes.
Ed Roccella/ National Heart, Lung & Blood Inst.: "IF YOU DON'T FIND TIME FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY YOU WILL FIND TIME FOR ILLNESS."
A number that in the past was considered borderline, such as 140 over 90, could now mean medicine.
Dr. Aram Chobanian/ Hypertension Expert: "NEARLY ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE ARE NOT EVEN AWARE OF IT. AND TWO THIRDS OF THOSE AMERICANS WITH HYPERTENSION STILL DO NOT HAVE IT ADEQUATELY TREATED."
The problem is that in it's early stages, high blood pressure has few obvious warning symptoms, but left untreated it can lead to serious heart problems.
Dr. Ramin Oskoui/ Cardiologist: "ELEVATED BLOOD PRESSURE CAUSES THE HEART VALVES TO WEAKEN AND THE HEART MUSCLE TO WEAKEN, AND EVENTUALLY CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE IS THE END RESULT"
The experts say they are not trying to frighten people, but they are trying to get them to take action. Making even small changes in blood pressure can have a big impact on your health.