Millions don’t have their blood pressure under control

(USA Today) — Despite the well-known perils of high blood pressure, more than half of the 67 million American adults who have the condition don’t have it under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new report out today.

“High blood pressure is public health enemy No. 2,” behind tobacco, says CDC director Thomas Frieden. “There is nothing that will save more lives than getting blood pressure under control,” he says.

“An elevated blood pressure reading is a life-threatening reading and prompt action of some sort needs to be taken.”

High blood pressure is defined as a reading greater than or equal to 140/90.

High blood pressure means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears, the American Heart Association says.

The scar tissue that forms to repair those tears traps plaque and white blood cells, which can lead to blockages, blood clots and hardened, weakened arteries, the heart association says.

Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and fourth leading causes of death in the USA. This is leading to nearly 1,000 deaths a day every day of the year, Frieden says. The direct cost of high blood pressure is almost $131 billion annually, he says.


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