High Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer

A report from the Institute of Medicine indicates the true statistics that show high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a growing epidemic that is often neglected by the American public.

The study shows that 73 million people suffer from high blood pressure with another 59 million people already suffering from pre-hypertension. The main reason is that most people ignore the symptoms until it’s too late. According to lead researcher David Fleming, M.D., high blood pressure can be relatively simple to prevent if physicians and patients work together to monitor diet and blood pressure readings.

Other discoveries from the institute’s study:

  • Decreased potassium levels and elevated sodium levels contribute to high blood pressure, and only 2 percent of adults consume enough potassium.
  • Researchers recommend stricter guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or food manufacturers who constantly hide sodium in packaged foods. The daily limit should only be 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium but most people consume an average of 3,400 mg.
  • If all overweight people lost 10 pounds, the nation’s hypertension cases could drop by 8 percent.
  • Researchers recommend reducing the insurance costs for blood pressure treatment and working to establish patient-assistance programs.

The Mayo Clinic states you can reduce blood pressure if you regularly exercise, consume a balanced diet low in saturated fat, limit alcohol consumption, avoid smoking and second-hand smoke, limit caffeine intake and reduce stress levels and triggers.