Doing Enough for High Blood Pressure?

CDC: Most People Have Room for Improvement in High Blood Pressure Control

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on May 03, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

May 3, 2007 -- Most people diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) could do more to control it.

That's according to a CDC report released today.

Data came from more than 101,000 adults in 20 states who were interviewed via telephone in 2005.

More than 24,400 participants said they had been told at least twice by a doctor or other health professional that they had high blood pressure.

Participants with high blood pressure answered these five questions:

  • Are you changing your eating habits to help lower or control your high blood pressure?
  • Are you cutting down on salt to help lower or control your high blood pressure?
  • Are you reducing alcohol use to help lower or control your high blood pressure?
  • Are you exercising to help lower or control your high blood pressure?
  • Are you currently taking medicine for your high blood pressure?

Virtually all participants -- 98% -- said they were doing at least one of those things. But many had room for improvement.

Nearly 30% hadn't changed their eating habits. About 20% hadn't cut back on salt or alcohol. More than 30% didn't exercise. About 25% weren't taking medicine for their blood pressure.

The study appears in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

What's Your Blood Pressure?

Nearly 30% of U.S. adults had high blood pressure in 2001-2004, and 70% of them didn't have their condition under control, the CDC notes.

Consistently high blood pressure makes the heart work harder. Controlling high blood pressure may help prevent heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, and other health problems.

High blood pressure usually doesn't have noticeable symptoms. Don't know your blood pressure numbers? A quick blood pressure test will tell you where you stand.

If your blood pressure is high, your doctor can help you design a plan to bring your blood pressure down to a safer level.

Show Sources

SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 4, 2007; vol 56: pp 420-422. WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding High Blood Pressure -- the Basics." WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Symptoms." News release, CDC.

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