(RxWiki News) Currently about 67 million American adults have high blood pressure. Though most with hypertension see a doctor at least twice a year and take medicine, that doesn't mean most have it under control.
Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted in a recent Vital Signs report that 36 million Americans do not have their high blood pressure under control -- more than half of hypertension patients.
In addition, millions of patients don't yet know they have hypertension.
"Get your blood pressure checked."
CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, said that it's time to ensure blood pressure control becomes a priority every day with every patient, and at each doctor's visit.
He said an increased focus on hypertension could help an additional 10 million Americans control their blood pressure within the next 5 years.
The report also determined that almost 22 million are aware of their hypertension but do not have it under control, while 16 million still have high blood pressure even though they take medication.
A person is considered to have hypertension when their blood pressure is 140/90 mm/Hg or greater.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Reducing blood pressure through healthy eating, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking can lower that risk.
According to the CDC, the annual direct health care cost of high blood pressure is nearly $131 billion.
Vital Signs is a report that is published monthly as part of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.