Do you think you're safe from high blood pressure? Think again.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
shows that 90% of Americans may develop hypertension (high
blood pressure) in their lives. This health condition potentially
leads to heart disease and premature death.
authors of the study determined lifetime risk for hypertension
in 1,300 people aged 55-65 years and hypertension-free at
the start of the study. Hypertension was defined as a blood
pressure of at least 140/90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury
- the standard measure of blood pressure), or the use of antihypertensive
Lifetime risk for the development of hypertension was 90%
in both age groups. In other words, nine out of 10 people
in the 22-year study had high blood pressure at some point
later in life. Also, 60% of the individuals took antihypertensive
medication at some point.
Besides detrimental effects on health, hypertension creates
a financial burden on society, which will likely increase
as the percentage of older Americans increases in the near
future. The best ways to prevent high blood pressure are essentially
free: Exercise regularly (30 minutes of aerobic exercise,
five times per week is ideal) and maintain a diet high in
fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in fats, simple
sugars, and sodium.
Vasan RS, Beiser A, Seshadri S, et al. Residual lifetime
risk for developing hypertension in middle-aged women and
men: The Framingham Heart Study. Journal of the American
Medical Association 2002:287(8), pp. 1003-1010.
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