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IOM report declares high blood pressure a neglected disease
Date:2/22/2010

such should rightly be called a neglected disease," said committee chair David Fleming, director and health officer, Public Health -- Seattle/King County, Seattle. "Undiagnosed and uncontrolled cases are occurring at alarming rates, even though many people with hypertension see their doctors regularly. We think health care providers can do better at helping patients control their blood pressure, but what will make the biggest difference is creating environments that help people avoid the condition in the first place through healthy eating and active living."

The committee's review of the science points to heavy weight, inactivity, and unhealthy diets containing too much salt and too little potassium as the major risk factors for high blood pressure. Fortunately, all can be prevented through behavioral changes, but the typical American community and lifestyle make a poor diet and inactivity easier patterns to fall into than healthy eating and active living.

The report calls for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with partners in the public and private sectors to promote policies that make it easier for people to engage in regular physical activity, cut calories, and reduce their intake of foods containing high levels of sodium while increasing their exposure and access to produce and other foods containing potassium.

Based on available data, the committee estimated that hypertension prevalence might be reduced by as much as 22 percent if Americans consumed less salt in their diet and ate more vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. A recent study calculated that reducing salt intake from 3,400 milligrams to the currently advised maximum intake level of 2,300 milligrams per day could bring down the number of individuals with high blood pressure by about 11.1 million and result in approximately $17.8 billion in health care cost savings annually. The committee also estimated that an initiative to help overweight a
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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