New Efforts to Control High Blood Pressure

Armen Hareyan's picture

High blood pressure affects more than a quarter of all Americans, contributing to heart attacks, strokes and other disease. New government guidelines call for a stepped-up effort to prevent and control this deadly health problem.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, causes one of every eight deaths worldwide. Recently, the U. S. government updated its guidelines for high blood pressure to help prevent and control this condition. Dr. John Alexander, assistant professor of cardiology at Duke University Medical center, says the so-called JNC 7 report, which includes a new "pre-hypertension" category, reflects our current understanding of high blood pressure.

"In the United States and in other Western countries, there are a lot of people who have blood pressures that are higher than is ideal. This is a marker of risk, both risk of developing more severe high blood pressure and ultimately risk of having vascular events, heart attacks and strokes."


Alexander says one important message is that we can control blood pressure more aggressively with diet and lifestyle changes, and medications when needed, across the population.

"Hypertension is a spectrum. Even in the range of what we used to call borderline high blood pressure or high normal blood pressure, blood pressures on the higher end of that are worse for you over the long term than blood pressures on the lower end."


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