Hypertension Affects 65 Million Americans - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/23/04

Hypertension Affects 65 Million Americans

High blood pressure is more common than ever. This according to a new government report out that finds nearly one in three Americans suffer from hypertension. If you're feeling lucky that you don't have it, this report reveals a huge concern that a lot of Americans don't know they have it.

"Most people don't have symptoms, so by the time you have symptoms, you either have what we call Aschemic heart disease -- your coronaries that are more blocked and you may be symptomatic from that -- or you may have a heart attack outright," says Dr. Larry Fields, Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Fields and others at the Department of Health and Human Services say a national health survey indicates 65 million Americans now have high blood pressure. That's up 30% from the last decade.

Researchers blame overeating and lack of exercise for the most part, and also the false notion that high blood pressure comes with age. Instead, it's lifestyle, not years, that bring it on.

So, what's normal? A reading under 120 over 80 is ideal. 140 or more over 90 is high. And there's a new pre-hypertensive category for those in the middle. Doctors are now encouraging those borderline patients to make lifestyle changes now, before it's too late.

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