Many Americans with hypertension (high blood pressure) don’t know that they have it, or do not have their blood pressure under control, according to a large study published in the January 2014 issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular and Quality Outcomes. The findings are alarming, given that hypertension is associated with heart attack, stroke, and ongoing damage to blood vessels and organs, such as the brain. The healthy range for blood pressure is generally agreed to be 90/60 to 120/80 in most individuals.
Researchers looked at health data on 70,000 American adults and found that 57 percent of them had high blood pressure. Among those who reported that their blood pressure was normal, about 25 percent were found to have hypertension when tested, and among those receiving treatment, half were receiving suboptimal care. The study authors recommended that patients keep a diary of blood pressure readings over a four-to-six-week period to establish an accurate record of their blood pressure, use a blood pressure monitor to track their blood pressure levels, and engage in blood-pressure-lowering behavior, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, reducing salt intake, and limiting stress.
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