According to the new study from the American Heart Association, 121.5 million Americans, or roughly 48.5 percent, have heart or blood vessel disease as of 2016.
In 2017, the AHA and American College of Cardiology updated its guidelines to define high blood pressure as showing higher than 130/80, down from the original 140/90.
"As one of the most common and dangerous risk factors for heart disease and stroke, this overwhelming presence of high blood pressure can't be dismissed from the equation in our fight against cardiovascular disease," Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin, volunteer president of the American Heart Association and director of the Cardiovascular Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said in a statement.
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States, taking more than 840,000 lives annually.
Study noted that roughly 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease can be prevented by managing high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, along with living healthy lifestyle behaviors such as not smoking. The healthy behavior such as consuming a healthy diet, joining physical activity, and sustaining a healthy body weight could have the most significant impact, as they help with to various conditions.
In a commentary posted on the Association's Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation website, the Chief Science and Medical Officer of the American Heart Association, Mariell Jessup, M.D., explained why these annual updates are not just a compilation of facts but also a vital tool in the organization's mission.
"We pour so much effort into our update each year because we believe in the transformative power of continuously and systematically collecting, analyzing and interpreting these important data," Jessup wrote. "They hold us accountable and help us chart our progress and determine if and how we need to adjust our efforts."