Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's YOUR Blood Pressure?

Today the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) released their report "Vital Signs: Awareness and Treatment of Uncontrolled Hypertension Among Adults- United States, 2003-2010), and what did they find?

  • 30.4% of American Adults have high blood pressure - over 66.9 MILLION of us!!!
  • 14.1 million people HAVE high blood pressure, but do not KNOW it

  • Of those that have high blood pressure, over HALF are NOT CONTROLLED.
  • 5.7 million people KNOW they have HBP but don't take medicine
  • Of the 35.8 million people who have UNCONTROLLED high blood pressure, the VAST MAJORITY (89.4%) have a usual source of health care & (85.2%) have health insurance
The media is all abuzz with this information, and with good reason. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a disease that is easily diagnosed- just a blood pressure cuff is needed. We have a plethora of medications that treat hypertension, the mainstay of which are older, effective drugs that should not be expensive. High blood pressure, however, is a silent disease- potentially no symptoms until that big heart attack, stroke, kidney or heart failure. It is challenging to convince patients to take a medication when they have no obvious symptoms that will improve by taking the medications. 

With one in three Americans being obese, it should come as no surprise that roughly that same number of Americans have high blood pressure. As a nation, we have got to start reversing these trends, and MEDICATIONS ARE NOT THE ANSWER. Yes, we need them to control pressures (and some hypertension exists in skinny, fit bodies, independent of weight), but the real focus should be on improving our exercise and food choices. The good news is that with even very modest weight loss (of as little as 5-10 pounds), much of high blood pressure resolves! So, back to M.O.R.E. on nutrition!

BOTTOM LINE: High blood pressure is a SILENT disease that will cause serious damage if not discovered and treated, so CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE today!


Leora Yang said...

This makes hypertension screening important. The JNC 7 recommends that adults without risk for hypertension (<120/80 mmHg) should screen every two years. Those who are at risk (120/80 – 139/90 mmHg) should screen once a year. This is enough reason for you to make an early assessment and provide immediate intervention.

Leora Yang

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