The Chilling Facts

Edition: July 2001 - Vol 9 Number 07
Article#: 1005
Author: Repertoire

As many as 50 million Americans six years of age and older have high blood pressure - or hypertension - according to the American Heart Association. Of these people, only 68.4 percent are aware they have the disease. And, only 27.4 percent of hypertensive individuals receive substantial medical therapy. While the cause of most cases of hypertension is unknown, and the disease often has no symptoms, it is essential that patients receive regular monitoring and screening.

A common precursor to heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, high blood pressure was directly responsible for the deaths of 42,565 Americans in 1997. It contributed to the deaths of nearly 210,000 others, according to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey conducted between 1988 and 1994.

High blood pressure can be controlled, usually through exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and by not smoking. Medication may also be necessary to reduce or control blood pressure, as well as following a low fat, low salt diet and limiting alcohol intake.

For more information on high blood pressure disease, visit the American Heart Association website at

American Heart Association Recommedation for Normal Blood Pressure Range

Blood Pressure (mm Hg)OptimalNormalHigh NormalHypertension
Systolic (top number)Less than 120Less than 130130-139140 or higher
Diastolic (bottom number)Less than 80Less than 8585-8990 or higher