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High Blood Pressure causing more Deaths despite Drop in Heart Disease, Stroke Deaths

 

Fewer Americans are dying from heart disease and stroke, but deaths caused by high blood pressure are on the rise, according to new statistics from the American Heart Association.

Although cardiovascular disease is still the biggest killer in the U.S., deaths fell by nearly a third from 2001 to 2011—a drop scientists say reflects improvements in preventing and treating heart disease and stroke. Doctors are encouraged that the trend will continue as healthcare systems around the country better implement evidence-based prevention and treatment guidelines from the AHA and the American College of Cardiology.

Concerns are growing, however, over a 13 percent uptick in hypertension-related deaths over that same span according to the statistical report, “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2015 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association,”

“Deaths attributable to cardiovascular diseases have been on the decline in recent decades. Yet in the face of this good news, we have several disturbing observations that we need to pay attention to because we’re at risk of eroding the gains we have made,” said AHA President Elliott Antman, M.D., professor of medicine and associate dean at Harvard Medical School.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Although the death rate going up for one while the other is going down may seem contradictory, one reason is that hypertension can directly lead to other deadly conditions such as heart failure or kidney failure if it is not controlled.

The report found that most cases have been detected—nearly 83 percent. But of the 80 million Americans with high blood pressure, only about half have it under control.  The rising hypertension death rate also is probably related to factors plaguing many Americans — lack of physical activity, obesity and too much sodium.

To learn more about understanding and managing blood pressure, CLICK HERE.

To assist worksites in addressing high blood pressure a worksite wellness program targeting blood pressure will launch on Giving Hearts Day, February 12, 2015.    For more information contact Joan Enderle.  joan.enderle@heart.org  or call 701-658-3046.  

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