Most Americans with high blood pressure and cholesterol are not being treated effectively, the CDC says

( — One out of every three adult Americans has high cholesterol levels and two-thirds of them do not have it under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. Similarly, one out of every three adults has high blood pressure and half of them do not have it under control. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two of the major risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 800,000 people every year. Overall, 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or both, and that has serious health and economic consequences for the country, according to the new CDC report released in an early version of the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The conditions cost the country $300 billion per year in direct medical costs alone — $1 out of every $6 spent for healthcare — and that number is expected to triple in the next 20 years, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the CDC director. “The bottom line is, high blood pressure and cholesterol are out of control.”

The data for the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which interviewed and examined 11,154 participants over the age of 18 between 2005 and 2008. The data may be somewhat conservative because it did not include the elderly residing in nursing homes and other institutions, who have a high incidence of age-related hypertension.

Blood pressure should be less than 120/80, and requires management if it is higher than 140/90. LDL cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) should be less than 160 for people without heart disease or diabetes; less than 130 for people without heart disease or diabetes but with two or more other risk factors for heart disease; and below 100 for people with heart disease or diabetes.


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