High blood pressure (hypertension) has ffi long been termed "the silent killer." that's because it usually causes no symptoms, but it sets the stage for stroke, heart attack and serious kidney damage.

Hypertension is defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) or higher.

Now: Data compiled from several studies indicates that risk for death from heart disease and stroke starts to increase with a blood pressure above 115/75 mm/Hg.

After reviewing more than 30 clinical trials, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recently created a new category of hypertension called "prehypertension"—a systolic (top number) blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm/Hg and/or a diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure of 80 to 89 mm/Hg.

Result: An estimated 90 million Americans—including 40 million who previously were considered not to be at risk—are now said to have prehypertension or hypertension. Medication is the most common treatment, but you can avoid medication or reduce the dosage by following these important but often-overlooked strategies...

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