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Half of Adults Have Hypertension or High Cholesterol: CDC
Date:2/2/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements, far too many Americans have out-of-control blood pressure and cholesterol levels -- both primary risk factors for heart disease, federal health officials warn.

According to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of U.S. adults have hypertension (high blood pressure), about the same proportion as 10 years ago.

Perhaps more distressing, only 46 percent had the condition controlled, despite the fact that the majority have some form of health insurance -- meaning they could be accessing care -- and 70 percent were actually being treated with blood pressure-lowering drugs.

The CDC reported similar numbers for cholesterol -- one in three U.S. adults have high "bad" cholesterol, but only one-third of them have their cholesterol under control. Only 48 percent are actually treated for the condition. Again, the majority of those affected had health insurance, either public or private.

Together, said CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, "100 million U.S. adults -- or nearly half of all adults in the U.S. -- have either high blood pressure or high cholesterol."

"Heart disease is the leading killer in America, and high blood pressure and high cholesterol are out of control for most Americans who have these conditions," continued Frieden, who spoke at a Tuesday news conference. "Although there has been progress in the past decade, it hasn't been nearly enough."

Heart disease and stroke cost the country nearly $300 billion a year in direct medical costs alone, he said, costs that are projected to triple by 2030.

Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, attributes part of the problem to "therapeutic inertia," where physicians aren't adequately motivat
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