The CDC estimates that fully one-third of Americans suffer from hypertension – high blood pressure. Our eyes and our kidneys suffer from prolonged pressure, our heart is stressed and our blood vessels threaten to rebel with aneurysms or with displaced plaque that begins a stroke or a heart attack. High blood pressure puts strain on so many of our organs and systems that addressing it might be compared to finding the right key on a cluttered key chain.
Getting our blood pressure within healthy limits and keeping it there is what a military person might call “a force multiplier,” an initiative that pays off far more than it costs.
45 Years of Experience and Information
The importance of awareness and education about high blood pressure is suggested by the fact that this month marks the 45th year of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program. In addition to developing and communicating useful information, the program works through a host of partner organizations to make progress ranging from awareness to making prevention easier to understand and treatment easier to follow.
Called “The Silent Killer”
The reasons for highlighting this entire month to raise awareness of high blood pressure take on added perspective when we consider that it usually comes with no symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that 11 million Americans are not even aware that they have high blood pressure. Even with its known connections to a variety of life-threatening conditions and life-shortening events, only about half of adults with hypertension have it under control.
It is estimated that 70% of Americans aged 65 and older suffer from high blood pressure, and at least a fourth of them are not taking blood pressure medicine as directed. So, the severity of the threat and the widespread failure to deal with it call for continual attention.
Even Young Folks Are Threatened
Hypertension among children and adolescents is considered a growing problem and, in fact, secondary hypertension – that is, high blood pressure caused by another medical condition – is even more common in children than in adults.
With childhood obesity becoming more common, the necessity of monitoring blood pressure as well as weight among young people is becoming more widely recognized.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published Five Surprising Facts About High Blood Pressure. As you might imagine, the surprises are not good news, including the link between high blood pressure and dementia, and the fact that women and minorities have higher risks connected with it.
Because no one is excluded from the risks of hypertension, the help of a family physician appears to be a wise choice for monitoring, preventing, and treating it. We would be glad to become such a resource for you. Call us at 843-815-6468.