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High Blood Pressure Stalks Many Americans
Date:11/22/2008

Seven in 10 don't do enough to protect themselves from stroke, heart attack,,

FRIDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- It's one of medicine's mantras: If you have high blood pressure, taking steps to lower it will have a dramatic impact on your risk of stroke, heart disease and more.

But 70 percent of people with high blood pressure still aren't doing a good enough job controlling it, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

"High blood pressure is clearly associated with stroke, and it's a very preventable and treatable condition, but a lot of people still aren't doing what they should," said Dr. Keith Siller, medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Care Center at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Almost one in three American adults has high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. Blood pressure is a measurement of the force exerted when the heart is beating (systolic pressure) or when the heart is at rest (diastolic pressure). Systolic is the top number and diastolic is the bottom number on a blood pressure reading.

A reading above 140/90 mmHg is considered high blood pressure, and anything between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg is considered prehypertension, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. A reading below 120/80 mmHg is considered normal.

Diet, exercise, and blood-pressure lowering medications are all mainstays of blood pressure management. Many people have to take a combination of medications to properly control their blood pressure.

To assess what measures those who've been diagnosed with hypertension are taking to control their high blood pressure, government researchers interviewed almost 25,000 Americans with high blood pressure. Almost all -- 98 percent -- said they were doing at least one thing to try to lower their blood pressure.

Most also said they were tak
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