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Americans have hypertension under control

October 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new report finds that more adult Americans have their high blood pressure under control.High blood pressure runs in Angelica Banuelos' family, so she gets it checked regularly.

"I try not to worry too much," said Banuelos. "I try to eat healthy and follow my physicals once a year."

A new CDC report finds 90 million Americans have high blood pressure. That's about 30 percent of the population. That number has held steady since 2000.

The head of the hypertension program at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City says you can blame the gene pool for that. The problem is many people are unaware.

"In order for us to treat it people have to know this is important," said Dr. Steve Hong. "The patient has to come in to get checked."

Government numbers reveal a lot of good news. More people are getting treated with medication and more people are getting their hypertension under control.

And many people like Banuelos are using diet and exercise to keep their numbers in check.

"I believe it was normal," said Banuelos.

High blood pressure is being identified at an earlier age because awareness is up. But there is one group of people, between the ages of 40 and 60, who don't appear to be getting the message.

"A certain age group works very hard in the work force and they don't have time to come in and see the doctor sometimes," said Dr. Hong.

And that's what researchers are worried about. By the time people get checked and get treatment it's often too late.

"They wait and they wait," said Dr. Hong. "I hope they don't wait until they start having problems. High blood pressure can lead to other problems like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure."

People between the ages of 40 and 60 take blood pressure medications, it's just the numbers haven't increased like they have in other age groups.

The CDC defines high blood pressure as a reading of 140 over 90. New findings suggest people should shoot for a blood pressure below 120 over 80.


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