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Self-Care

What Is Your Target Blood Pressure? Most Adults Don't Know


More than 70 percent of those diagnosed with high blood pressure do not know their target blood pressure numbers, according to results from the annual Consumer Health Sciences National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS).

Consumer Health Sciences (CHS) says high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the major risk factors of heart disease, which leads to heart attack and stroke; however, those who suffer form the condition can control it through proper monitoring, CHS noted.

CHS says blood pressure of less than 140/90 is considered a normal reading for adults The higher/first number (systolic) represents the pressure while the heart is beating; the lower/second number (diastolic) represents the pressure when the heart is resting between beats, CHS explained. Blood pressure greater than 140/90 is considered elevated and requires treatment, CHS added.

"Hypertension is a silent disease," said Joan Sinopoli, CHS president. "It's difficult for patients to stay on the medication they need when they aren't ‘feeling bad'. But the fact that most diagnosed sufferers aren't even paying attention to their target numbers is shocking. Patients just aren't getting the message that this is a serious disease."

The CHS survey, which recorded results from more than 22,000 adults in the United States, revealed that when it comes to "heart health," consumers are not taking control of their disease. The NHWS also noted these facts about hypertension:

  • In the U.S., more than 25 percent of adults are diagnosed with hypertension.
  • Although the stereotypical sufferer of hypertension is an older male, women are just as likely to suffer from hypertension as men, and nearly 20 percent of those diagnosed are between the ages of 31 to 44.
  • High cholesterol, which is another leading risk factor for heart disease, has the same type of statistics as hypertension: 71 percent of people diagnosed with high cholesterol are unaware of their target cholesterol count.

Because of the apparent lack of awareness regarding heart health, CHS said there is a strong need for educational campaigns that are directed toward consumers and the physicians who treat them; the campaigns should highlight the health risks, such as heart attack and stroke, that can result if hypertension is not treated, CHS added. 

Address: Consumer Health Sciences, 165 Wall St., Princeton, NJ 08540; (609) 924-4455, www.CHSinternational.com.


© 2002 Health Resources Publishing