WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Nearly one in three American adults (67 million) has high blood pressure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report Tuesday.
The majority of Americans with high blood pressure (36 million) are being treated with medicine and have seen a doctor at least twice in the past year, yet their condition is still not under control, according to the report entitled Vital Signs. Millions more are either aware they have high blood pressure but aren't getting treated with medicine or don't even know they have it.
"We have to roll up our sleeves and make blood pressure control a priority every day, with every patient, at every doctor's visit, " said CDC Director Thomas Frieden in a statement. "With increased focus and collaboration among patients, health care providers and health care systems, we can help 10 million Americans' blood pressure come into control in the next five years."
High blood pressure is defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mm-Hg. It is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States, leading to nearly 1,000 deaths a day. High blood pressure's direct health care cost is almost 131 billion U.S. dollars annually.
Pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, and community health workers can support doctors in identifying and treating patients with high blood pressure, the report says. This team-based approach is a way to provide patient support and follow-up care, manage medicines, and help patients stick to a blood pressure control plan. In addition, patients should be counseled to make important lifestyle changes that affect blood pressure, including eating a healthy, low sodium diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, according to the report.