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New Survey Finds Majority of Adults Don't Understand a Key Source of High Blood Pressure

Dr. Michael Roizen - Co-Founder of RealAge and Co-Author of the YOU Book Series - Urges America to Get the Real Inside Info on High Blood Pressure and Aim Lower

SAN DIEGO, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey released today shows that 3 out of 4 (75%) adults with high blood pressure are not at all familiar with the role of the renin system(1) -- a key regulator of blood pressure in the body.(2) Yet, about 9 out of 10 adults with high blood pressure (89%) both believe the condition is a cause for concern and want to understand what is going on in their body that is causing it.(1) The Omnibus survey, sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, was conducted by Harris Interactive(R) among more than 2,400 US adults ages 18+, more than 700 of whom said they have high blood pressure.(3)

To address this knowledge gap and help Americans get their blood pressure under control, RealAge has partnered with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation to develop an online educational program on high blood pressure. Through this program, RealAge co-founder Dr. Michael Roizen, known for helping America live healthier lives, unlocks the science and arms the public with information about the underlying causes of high blood pressure, risks associated with the condition, and important tools to help manage it.

"High blood pressure -- a real national health epidemic -- is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the number 1 cause of death in the US. There are more than 850,000 cardiovascular-related deaths annually in the US,"(4) said Michael Roizen, MD, co-founder of "Your high blood pressure number is the second most important number, next to, perhaps your spouse's birthday. Know your numbers and aim lower -- decrease your blood pressure. Go to or speak with your physician to learn how."

Approximately 74 million or about 1 in 3 adults (30%) in the US have high blood pressure.(4) While it cannot be cured, it can be lowered to a healthier level with a healthier lifestyle, diet, exercise and, in many cases, medication.(5)

New content on will give the public access to educational materials about an important enzyme called renin. Renin plays a role in blood pressure rising and falling and starts a chemical process in the body that narrows blood vessels. In some people, the renin system is too active and that can lead to high blood pressure. There are many medications that work in the renin system that can lead to effective blood pressure lowering.(2)

"The results of this survey reinforce the need for education, particularly around the renin system. Targeting the renin system is a key to regulating blood pressure," Roizen continued. "Our hope is that by helping the public better understand the physiology of high blood pressure, we can motivate those with the condition to adapt a healthier lifestyle and ask their physicians about treatment options that target a key source of blood pressure."

High Blood Pressure: A Serious Health Threat

Untreated high blood pressure increases a person's risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.(5) Alarmingly, about 4 out of 10 people (41%) diagnosed with high blood pressure were not aware that kidney disease is a potential consequence of high blood pressure if left untreated.(1) In fact, high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure and causes more than 25,000 new cases of kidney failure in the US each year.(6)

There are a number of different types of medications available to help patients get to a healthier blood pressure level. Despite this, nearly 36% of Americans taking high blood pressure medications do not have their hypertension properly controlled.(7) In addition, about 7 out of 10 US adults who have had a first heart attack or stroke still do not have their blood pressure under control.(4)

To get the complete information about high blood pressure and renin, patients are encouraged to visit

Survey Says: Additional Findings

In addition to the findings noted above, the survey also highlighted that among the more than 2,400 adults surveyed, a total of 76% said they have high blood pressure or know someone who has high blood pressure.(3)

Among those who reported having high blood pressure, the survey revealed that:(1)

  • A majority (95%) believe it is important to speak to a health care provider about how to manage high blood pressure
  • Only 9% state that they have given up controlling blood pressure because they feel they can't change their behavior, so their high blood pressure can't be controlled
  • 90 percent or more believe it is important to understand the health conditions and/or diseases that affect themselves and their loved ones
  • 93 percent of adults know that heart attack and stroke are possible complications of high blood pressure
    • Incorrectly, more than one-third (38%) believe that diabetes is a complication of high blood pressure
  • Only 2% are very familiar with the role the renin system plays in their body, though one quarter (25%) consider themselves at least somewhat familiar
    • When given descriptions about the role the renin system plays in the body, only about one-quarter of adults (23%) were able to correctly describe it

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive's QuickQuery(SM) Omnibus Service on behalf of Novartis from April 22 to 24 among 2,419 adults ages 18 and older, 717 of whom said they have high blood pressure or hypertension.(1) This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology and all the survey results, please contact Meredith Wade and/or Christine Hanson.

About is a healthy-lifestyle Web site that inspires its members to "Live Life to the Youngest" and to pursue their health and wellness goals by making their RealAge younger. The site offers the patented RealAge Test, the most widely used method for measuring overall health, and is the official online home of the YOU Docs, Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD, and their best-selling RealAge and YOU books. Over 27 million people have measured their RealAge by taking the RealAge Test and have received a personalized plan to make their RealAge younger. This leading healthy-lifestyle Web site also features more than 65 additional health-risk assessments, as well as health tips and information, all backed by current, valid science. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Magazines, a division of the Hearst Corporation.

About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation researches, develops, manufactures and markets leading innovative prescription drugs used to treat a number of diseases and conditions, including those in the cardiovascular, metabolic, cancer, organ transplantation, central nervous system, dermatological, GI and respiratory areas. The company's mission is to improve people's lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions.

Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is an affiliate of Novartis AG, which provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2008, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 41.5 billion and net income of USD 8.2 billion. Approximately USD 7.2 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 98,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact:

    RealAge                                     Ruder Finn
    Meredith Wade                               Christine Hanson
    (858) 731-8806 (direct)                     (212) 593-6382
    (760) 401-4043 (mobile)                     (917) 620-5291                 


  1. Harris Interactive QuickQuery Survey. Custom Tables.
  2. Muller DN, Luft FC. Direct renin inhibition with aliskiren in hypertension and target organ damage. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006:221-228.
  3. Harris Interactive QuickQuery Survey. Main Database Tables.
  4. Lloyd-Jones D, Adams R, Carnethon M et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2009 Update: A report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Circulation. 2009;119:e21-e181.
  5. Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, et al. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC7 Report. JAMA. 2003;289:2560-2572.
  6. National Institutes of Health. High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease Fact Sheet. Available at:
  7. Ostchega Y, Yoon SS, Hughes J, Louis T. Hypertension awareness, treatment, and control -- continued disparities in adults: United States, 2005-2006. NCHS data brief no 3. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008.

SOURCE RealAge, Inc.
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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