New blood pressure guidelines

(CNN) -- According to brand new guidelines released by the American Heart Association, Monday, nearly half of all Americans now are considered to have a blood pressure that is too high.

The old guidelines said that a person with a blood pressure of 140 over 90 or higher had high blood pressure. With the new guidance, both men and women should be treated if their blood pressure is 130 over 80 or higher.

"Reducing the blood pressure under 130 over 80, lower than what we thought before, prevents more heart attacks, prevents more strokes, and prevents death and so that's why the guidelines have changed," says Dr. Haitham Ahmed, Preventative Cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic.

This does not mean millions of Americans now need medication, but doctors say Americans do need to make some lifestyle changes including watching their salt intake, exercising more regularly, and getting the right amount of sleep.

High blood pressure or hypertension is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths in the United States.