Nearly 60 million Americans have high blood pressure and 46 Percent of them don’t know it. Here are other facts from the American Heart Association on a problem that kills more than 30,000 Americans a year:

What Is It?

The problem stems from a consistently elevated blood pressure of 140 mm systolic and/or 90 mm diastolic, or higher. Systolic refers to the pressure of the blood against the artery walls when the heart beats. Diastolic is the pressure against the artery walls between the heartbeats. A quick, painless test can determine blood pressure.

Who Has It?

 Of U.S Adults aged 18-74, 33 percent of white men, 38 percent of black men, 25 per cent of white woman and 39 per cent of black ‘women have high blood pressure, It is particularly prevalent among the middle-aged and elderly blacks, the obese, heavy drinkers, women taking oral contraceptives and people with diabetes mellitus, gout or kidney disease.

What Is The Danger?

High blood pressure can contribute to the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. There is evidence that lowering blood pressure reduces the risk of stroke and Coronary heart disease. Heart attacks and stroke together kill almost 700,000 Americans a year.

What Can Be Done?

The most common treatments include weight reduction, exercise, reducing salt in-take and using medication. It is extremely important to follow directions exactly when medications have been prescribed.


About 46 percent of the people with high blood pressure don’t know it. Another 21 percent don’t need medication. Twenty two percent are on medication, but their condition is inadequately controlled. Eleven percent is receiving adequate therapy.

When Drugs Used?

Medications are used in moderate to severe cases. A trial period is often needed to determine which drug or combination of medications is best. The medications include diuretics that eliminate excess salt and water; sympathetic inhibitors that curb nerve impulses reduce the heart rate and relax blood vessels; vasodilators that expand blood vessels; and enzyme inhibitors that block formation of a hormone that can increase blood pressure,

Why Is Salt Important?

Americans consume 1015 times more sodium than they need, either by adding it while cooking, adding it as a seasoning or eating large amounts of fast food and Processed foods. Sodium is also found in high levels in many over the counter remedies such as analgesics.

Article extracted from this publication >> October 21, 1988