Tuesday, February 12, 2008

High Blood Pressure Rates in the U.S. Found to be “Deplorable”

We know how to treat high blood pressure, yet a recent study shows that the incidence of hypertension in this country is not on the decline. In fact, it is on the rise among women, and has plateaued in men. This is being called "deplorable" by researchers.

AHA president, Dr. Dan Jones, has issued a call to action by saying that “Public-health officials, policy makers, health professionals, and the American public need to respond."

A recent analysis indicates that one in every four women in Washington DC and the Southern states has high blood pressure. Researchers find this unsatisfactory because there are so many treatment options available for hypertension. Pharmaceuticals are more cost effective than ever and lifestyle changes are attainable, making it difficult to understand why the problem persists.

In the seventies and eighties, the incidence of high blood pressure in the US was on the decline. Now we see that in spite of treatment advances, little and no progress has been seen in eliminating the problem.

Lead study author, Dr Majid Ezzati feels that high blood pressure is one of the largest issues affecting human health. He also reasons that women may not have access to good health care, or perhaps hypertension is so prevalent because of the obesity epidemic. Dr. Ezzati wonders if there is not enough emphasis from family physicians regarding salt intake, or perhaps a more aggressive approach to blood pressure management is needed from healthcare providers.

The mortality risk associated with high blood pressure is seen when tracking deaths caused by uncontrolled hypertension in states where it is the worst. For example, male deaths in Washington DC from uncontrolled high blood pressure are double in comparison to Utah - 410 per 100,000 vs. 210 per 100,000.

In a recent commentary from The Medscape Journal of Medicine, Dr. Larry Grouse has advocated for a National health television network for patients and physicians. Dr. Grouse, Executive Director of the ARIA Initiative of the World Health Organization, believes that health alerts through messaging and via the Internet could offer ongoing education to patients and physicians alike. Proposed topics include disease prevention, management and lifestyle tips. Physicians could tune in for the latest treatment modalities, keeping everyone current.

We’re obviously in need of some sort of intervention to help curb this health problem, and as a country, we face many more. It seems to me there is plenty of information regarding the ravages of high blood pressure and disease prevention in general. Is it just that we don’t want to listen? I don’t know, but I can’t help but wonder.

For starters – Back away from the salt shaker, and go take a walk.

Ref: http://www.theheart.org/article/842609.do

Related Posts:
Blood Pressure Management for Women