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Smoking, Hypertension Each Account for 1 in 5 U.S. Deaths
Date:4/28/2009

for 1 in 10 deaths. The dietary risks associated with the highest risk of death were high salt intake, low omega-3 intake and high trans fat intake.

Dr. Ramachandran Vasan, chief of the section of preventive medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine and senior investigator for the Framingham Heart Study, said the researchers tried to quantify risk factors that included metabolic, dietary and lifestyle issues.

Their findings have "a lot of public health importance," he said. Vasan had no involvement with the study.

Ezzati agreed, saying the study results would show public health officials that "efforts to reduce smoking and lower blood pressure seem to have run out of steam."

Asked if the blood pressure risk factor was due to controlled or uncontrolled blood pressure, he said: "Controlled is an arbitrary term. Many people [with high blood pressure] who are controlled [on medication] are still at risk, because it is still high."

But Vasan said that, on an individual level, the study offers an important take-home point. "It reinforces the idea that it's a good idea to stop smoking and to periodically visit your doctor to get your blood pressure and your cholesterol checked," he said.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on lowering blood pressure.



SOURCES: Majid Ezzati, Ph.D., associate professor, international health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Ramachandran Vasan, M.D., chief, section of preventive medicine and epidemiology, and professor, medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston; April 2009, PLoS Medicine


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