High blood pressure or hypertension is an insidious problem in the United States.
It’s been referred to as the “silent killer” because it often goes undetected and causes major health problems.
It’s truly an epidemic, affecting a large segment of the population, some of whom are not even aware they have the condition!
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most alarming facts about high blood pressure and hopefully shedding light on what a serious problem it is.
Fact # 1 – High blood pressure is a killer.
In 2013, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 360,000 people died due to high blood pressure, either as a primary or contributing cause.
That translates to almost 1,000 deaths per day.
The following year, 410,000 peoples’ deaths were related to high blood pressure.
Fact # 2 – Around 32 % of adults in America,
32% of adults in America, which is about 75 million people, suffer from high blood pressure.
That means that every 1 in 3 adults you know is experiencing the problem!
Fact # 3 – Around 1 in 5 people Are Not Aware of It
Shockingly, ⅕ of all the people in world are afflicted with high blood pressure.
But the greater shock and concern are that they aren’t even aware they have it.
Fact # 4 – High Blood Pressure Doesn’t Have Any Warning Signs
You may be wondering how people can go about their lives without realizing they have high blood pressure.
The answer is that it often doesn’t come with any warning signs or symptoms.
This reinforces how important it is to get screened.
There is, after all, a good reason every doctor’s appointment begins with a blood pressure test!
Fact # 5 – 120/80 Is Actually the Starting Point for Hypertension
About 1 in every 3 American adults has “prehypertension,” which indicates a slightly above average blood pressure but it doesn’t quite qualify as high blood pressure.
A blood pressure of 120/80 was formerly considered normal, but with recent guideline changes, the American College of Cardiology, along with the American Heart Association, have reclassified this number as the starting point of prehypertension.
Fact # 6 – High Blood Pressure Opens the Door to a Lot of Health Issues
Heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States, can be closely tied to high blood pressure.
For example, 7 out of 10 people who have had a heart attack for the first time, also had high blood pressure.
And 8 out of 10 people who experience a stroke for the first time, also have high blood pressure.
And high blood pressure is also linked with kidney disease and even dementia.
Fact # 7 – High Blood Pressure Can Affect Young People Too
Although high blood pressure is often associated with older people, it can affect younger people as well!
According to the Center for Disease Control, younger adults aged 35 to 44 are increasingly affected by high blood pressure, with one in four men and one in five women experiencing the problem.
And an increasing number of youth who suffer from obesity often experience high blood pressure, which again, leads to other serious diseases.
Fact # 8 – High Blood Pressure in Pregnant Women Can Cause Problems
Women who want to become pregnant should pay special attention to their blood pressure, as it can have adverse effects on a developing fetus.
For example, women with high blood pressure could have a child born at a lower than healthy weight or be born prematurely.
Also, keep in mind that certain birth control medications can raise a woman’s blood pressure.
Fact # 9 – High Blood Pressure Is Expensive
High blood pressure puts a drain on the economy, costing the country about $48.6 billion per year in medications and healthcare services, in addition to lost working days.
Fact # 10 – High Blood Pressure Is Highest in African Americans
High blood pressure is more common among certain ethnic groups and areas of the country.
For example, African American men and women have a higher rate of the disease than other ethnic groups.
It’s also more common in the southern United States, with almost 10 % more people relative to other areas of the country reporting high blood pressure.
Fact # 11 – One Half of Those Who Suffer from High Blood Pressure Are Not Addressing It
Fortunately, since 1999 awareness of the condition has grown, and more people, especially seniors, have gotten treatment for their high blood pressure.
Case in point: in 2009 more than 55 million doctor’s appointments involved people consulting about their blood pressure condition.
In addition, about 7 of every 10 Americans with the disease use medications to treat their issue.
However, only 54 % of people with high blood pressure can be said to have their condition, “under control,” due to lack of knowledge or not taking proactive steps.
Fact # 12 – High Blood Pressure can be Prevented and Managed.
Obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, put a person at higher risk of developing the condition.
That’s why exercise and a healthy diet are very important, both as preventative and management measures.
Smoking can exacerbate the condition, and sodium intake should be dramatically reduced.
It’s recommended that people with hypertension eat less than one teaspoon of salt per day.
Obviously, taking medications prescribed by a physician is also extremely important to getting your high blood pressure under control.
Some of these facts might have surprised you and some may not have.
The important takeaway from these facts is that you need to monitor your blood pressure from time to time.
And if your blood pressure starts to exceed 120 over 80, it’s time to go see a doctor.