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CDC Reports High Blood Pressure Afflicts Roughly 30 Percent of Americans

Update Date: Apr 05, 2013 11:35 AM EDT
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Almost every adult American knows at least one person who has to deal with the complications of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Whether that person is a father or a friend, the number of people with high blood pressure seems to be continuously increasing. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005 to 2009, there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of people with high blood pressure. This increasing trend stresses the importance of promoting healthy behaviors and diets, and spreading awareness about preventable measures that can be taken to stave off high blood pressure.

Hypertension can be a contributing factor to several health complications such as heart disease and stroke, and now a little less than one-third of the U.S. population has the condition. Based from data collected by a nationwide telephone survey conducted by each state's department, the CDC reported that 28 percent of Americans stated that they have high blood pressure in 2009. In 2005, the rate was 26 percent. The researchers found that of the 28 percent of people with hypertension, only 62 percent of them stated that they were using proper medication to handle their condition.

"What we are really concerned about as well is that people who have high blood pressure are getting treated. Only about half of those with hypertension have it controlled," Fleetwood Loustalot , a researcher with the CDC, said. "Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to negative health consequences like heart attacks and strokes."

Hypertension can be caused by numerous factors that are mostly preventable, such as poor diet, which includes too much salt consumption, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and little to no exercise. The CDC report also revealed that the lowest percentage of people with high blood pressure, which was 21 percent, was living in Minnesota. The highest percentage of people at 36 percent was from Mississippi. The CDC also reported that higher cases of hypertension were recorded in seniors, men, African Americans, and people with a lower high school education.

"Improving awareness, treatment and control of blood pressure is vital to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow.  Fonarow is a spokesman for the American Heart Association and a professor of cardiology at the University of California in Los Angeles. He was not a part of the study. "All adult men and women should be aware of their blood pressure levels and, if elevated, ensure appropriate treatment."

The report was published in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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