Statistically, about 75 million American adults (32%) suffer have high blood pressure. That’s an astounding 1 in every 3 adults.
Only 54% of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
High blood pressure was the primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.
High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.
Hypertension Kills: Health Measures You Can Take
It’s very important to control your blood pressure.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, there are things you can do to control it. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and medications all can help lower your blood pressure.
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Normal blood pressure is when the top number (systolic blood pressure) is below 120 most of the time, and the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure) is below 80 most of the time (written as 120/80 mm Hg).
Hypertension Kills: Unhealthy Behaviors
Unhealthy behaviors can also increase your risk for high blood pressure, especially for people who can check off one or more from the list below:
- Smoking tobacco.
- Eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium.
- Not getting enough physical activity.
- Being obese.
- Drinking too much alcohol.
There are life-saving medicines you can take every day to help control your high blood pressure. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and take their medicines.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is an eating plan that is based on research studies sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These studies showed that DASH lowers high blood pressure and improves levels of cholesterol.
Hypertension Kills: A Partial List Of Medications
The FDA has approved several medications to treat high blood pressure, including
- Diuretics, or “water pills,” which help the kidneys flush extra water and salt from your body and decrease blood volume
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels
- Beta blockers, which also cause the heart to beat with less force
- Drugs that directly relax the blood vessels. These include calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and other relaxers of blood vessels
- Alpha blockers, which reduce nerve impulses that tighten blood vessels
- Nervous system inhibitors, which control nerve impulses from the brain to relax blood vessels
Many people with high blood pressure may need more than one medication to reach their goal blood pressure. Your health care provider can tell you if you should be on medication and, if so, which drug(s) may be best for you.
Start now and get healthy. Visit your doctor and get checked.