Americans Don't Do Enough to Cut Hypertension, Cholesterol
CDC Report Finds Many in U.S. Need to Do More for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Controlling Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
The report was based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, also known as NHANES, which is an ongoing study of the health and nutritional status of some 5,000 participants.
Among the key findings of the new report:
- Almost one-third of adults have high blood pressure.
- A third with high blood pressure do not get pharmacologic treatment.
- About half of adults with high blood pressure do not have it under control.
- A third of adults have high cholesterol.
- About half of those with high cholesterol do not get treatment.
- Two-thirds of those with high cholesterol do not have the condition under control.
The study team calls for the implementation of a comprehensive approach to improve access to health care and to find new ways to encourage patients to take necessary steps to reduce their risks of strokes and heart attacks by aggressively treating high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Making Healthy Choices
The CDC says it is involved in educational programs that stress the need for Americans to make healthy lifestyle choices, exercise, and watch their weight to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The report says Americans should take steps known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. These include eating a diet low in sodium, low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and rich in fruits and vegetables. Also, getting some exercise is beneficial, the CDC says.
People should take steps themselves, but reducing sodium intake to recommended levels can also be helped by food producers, restaurants, and fast-food establishments by reducing salt in products they sell, CDC says.
The CDC report expresses concern that there has been no significant decline in the prevalence of hypertension during the past decade even though 70% of people with high blood pressure are being treated with medication and 46% are controlled.