According to a new report, nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, heart disease or a history of stroke.

This figure is up sharply from what the American Heart Association (AHA) released last year – mainly because of changes in the definition of hypertension. In 2017, the guidelines lowered the threshold to 130/80 mm Hg, down from 140/90 mm Hg used for a long time.

As a result, many more Americans are now entering the category of high blood pressure.

According to the new report, in 2016, approximately 48% of American adults had some form of cardiovascular disease, 9% of whom had heart disease or were living with the effects of stroke. The rest had high blood pressure.

Dr. Emelia Benjamin led the committee that wrote the report, published online January 31 in the AHA Circulation Journal.

She said that there was no doubt that high blood pressure was very prevalent in the United States: the average American has about 90% chance of developing the disease during his lifetime.

But many steps can be taken to delay or prevent hypertension, heart disease and stroke, said Benjamin, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.

"Stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise, control your cholesterol and your blood sugar," said Benjamin.

With regard to the exercise, she said: "I am not talking about the training for the Boston Marathon.You can stop taking the elevator and use the stairs.You can park your car at the furthest point of the store. "

Focusing on simple small steps can make lifestyle changes more achievable, Benjamin advised.

According to the latest statistics, more than 121 million Americans were suffering from cardiovascular disease in 2016. This represents an increase from 92 million in last year's report. AHA.

The prevalence of this condition is a major concern, according to Dr. Ivor Benjamin, volunteer chair of the AHA.

"As one of the most common and most dangerous risk factors for heart disease and stroke, this hypertensive high blood pressure can not be discounted from the equation of our disease control. cardiovascular diseases, "he said in a statement.

He added that if high blood pressure was "eliminated", this would further contribute to reducing the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke than the elimination of all other factors in the disease. risk in women – and all risk factors with the exception of smoking in men.

The AHA, however, reports some encouraging trends.

Smoking rates among adults and adolescents continue to decline, while the number of people who exercise continues to climb: just under 27% of adults say they are sedentary, compared to 40% in 2005.

According to Benjamin, the author of the report, "People are starting to understand the message.If you go from a totally sedentary activity to even a moderate activity, you will benefit."

On the other hand, the prevalence of obesity remains stubbornly high, reported the AHA. In the United States, just under 40% of adults are obese and nearly 8% are obese. Meanwhile, more than 18% of children and adolescents are obese.

Benjamin has not found an easy solution to this problem. And responsibility is not just about individuals, she said.

Many Americans do not have access to healthy, affordable food, safe places to exercise, or health care, and these are needs that need to be addressed.