Friday, October 22, 2010

It Is Not Too Difficult To Prevent Hypertension!

Hypertension, or more commonly known as high blood pressure, is the second-leading cause of death in the United States. It usually has no symptoms but it can lead to development of many complications including heart disease, kidney failure and stroke, if the condition is not controlled. Many people can have hypertension for years even without knowing it.

Yet, hypertension is regarded as a “neglected disease”! This is what a report, commissioned by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published on February 22, 2010 in the Institute of Medicine, suggested.

The report showed that nearly one-third of the American adults have hypertension, and the number is on the rise. Every year, hypertension also accounts for about one-sixth of adult deaths, which is a 25 percent increase from 1995 to 2005.

The prevailing measures for hypertension prevention is definitely inadequate: doctors do not treat it aggressively and governments have not sufficiently prioritized their task. But the report stressed that prevent and treat hypertension is not difficult at all. Some means that would help manage and even prevent hypertension were outlined in the report.

The first priority is to cut the salt intake. It is estimated that some 80 percent of Americans are consuming more than the recommended amount of salt and the number is increasing! As some 70 percent of Americans had their sodium (salt) intake from package foods and restaurants, and not from their family meals, it is important for the food industry to manufacture and supply foods that contain less salt to the public.

Health experts are required to do their part, too. It is known that only one-third of people who have hypertension have the condition controlled. Many people who either are not aware that hypertension has struck them or have hypertensive condition not appropriately controlled by the health care providers who have diagnosed it.

Effort should be made to break the economic barriers that prevent patients from taking their medication. It is recommended that CDC need to work closely with various relevant parties to help hypertensive patients who need the medications.

Besides cutting salt, people should also eat more potassium, get some exercise and lose some weight. These steps would surely make a big difference in how many people suffer hypertension.

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