Nearly half of American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, a new study says, driven largely by changes to the guidelines for classifying hypertension.

According to the American Heart Association study, 121.5 million Americans, or about 48.5%, were suffering from heart disease or a blood vessel to from 2016.

The study indicates that deaths from cardiovascular disease have increased from more than 836,000 in 2015 to more than 840,000 in 2016.

The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal AHA Circulation.

The increase in the number of Americans with heart disease is much higher than the 92.1 million reported in 2014. One of the main reasons is the change in the guidelines on the measurement of the disease. ;hypertension. In 2017, the AHA and the American College of Cardiology have updated their guidelines to define high blood pressure as a reading greater than 130/80, compared with 140/90 in the US. origin.

When hypertension cases are abolished, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease among Americans is 9%, or 24.3 million Americans.

"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, "Ivor Benjamin, volunteer chair of the American Heart Association and director of the cardiovascular center of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said in a statement.

The study revealed a significant decline in smoking, a major risk factor for the development of heart disease. From 2015 to 2016, 79% of adults were non-smokers, compared to 73% in 1999-2000.

More: Here's how to check if your medications for hypertension are being recalled in relation to a potential cancer risk

More: A "unique opportunity": a pharmaceutical company increases the price of drugs for hypertension after the recall of drugs from competitors

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.