Almost 50% are Unaware their Blood Pressure is Too High
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is found around the world and is the leading cause of heart disease, but many people are unaware that they have it.
An international team of researchers noted that this is true for wealthy, developed nations and low-income countries. And despite the availability of drugs to control high blood pressure, many people who do know they have the condition are not being adequately treated.
Blood pressure-lowering drugs are generally inexpensive and commonly available treatments. However, only a third of patients who commenced treatment are on enough therapy to control their blood pressure. Too low medication is worst in low-income countries but significant in high- and middle-income countries, too.
Researchers found that almost half of people with hypertension are unaware of their condition, and among those identified, very few are taking enough treatment to control their condition. Only 32 percent of patients who were aware of the fact that they had high blood pressure were effectively keeping their condition under control.
The researchers concluded that improvements are needed worldwide in diagnosing and treating high blood pressure.
The findings are troubling and demonstrate a need for systematic efforts to better detect and treat those with high blood pressure.
On blood pressure issues in America, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found:
· 31% have high blood pressure
· Over 348,000 American deaths in 2009 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause
· High blood pressure costs the US $47.5 billion annually in direct medical expenses
· Reducing average sodium intake from 3,300 mg to 2,300 mg per day may reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million and save 18 billion health care dollars annually
Learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure.
Hypertension places stress on other organs, including the heart, kidneys, and eyes, causing them to deteriorate over time.
People with high blood pressure often feel normal, so they may not think they need to be concerned. However, waiting until it’s too late can have dire consequences. Some doctors recommend everyone have a blood pressure cuff in their home. The anxiety of being in a doctor’s office or hospital can cause blood pressure readings to be higher than when read at home.
The blood pressure reading has two numbers. The higher one is the systolic pressure, and the lower is the diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is considered high if the higher number exceeds 140 or the lower number exceeds 90. Traditionally, “normal” is said to be 120 over 80, but this has been over-emphasized. Generally, the lower the blood pressure, the better. Researchers have found that low-pressure readings can be found in youngsters and older people in excellent physical condition.
Active treatment can begin through lifestyle modifications like smoking cessation and exercise or medication, which may not only prevent stroke and heart disease but also preserve cognitive function.
High blood pressure symptoms are also caused by factors that are within our control - such as an unhealthy diet, being overweight, or a high alcohol intake. Too much salt in the diet is also a contributing factor – most Americans consume more than they need. A lack of exercise can also contribute to it – and as everyone knows, stress is one of the major causes of high blood pressure.
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