by Cate Stevenson
Over the past 10 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have invested a lot of time and effort to educate the public about the dangers of high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. But despite some improvements, far too many Americans still have out-of-control blood pressure and cholesterol levels – the primary risk factors for heart disease.
According to a new report just released from the CDC, one-third of U.S. adults have hypertension, with similar numbers being recorded for high cholesterol levels.
And, according the CDC, only 46% of people with high blood pressure actually have the condition controlled, despite the fact that the majority have some form of health insurance. Similar numbers were reported for cholesterol too – only 48% are actually treated for the condition.
Roughly how many adults does that add up to who are in danger of getting heart disease? The CDC says 100 million U.S. adults have either high blood pressure or high cholesterol – almost half the adult population!
Make sure you get your levels checked regularly by your doctor or health-care provider. The “Affordable Care Act” signed into law in March 2010 by the U.S. government offers free screenings for both blood pressure and cholesterol.
The CDC urges everyone to take initiatives to keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just released dietary guidelines and many health-care institutions are advocating for people to reduce salt and trans fat intake.
Getting numbers down for heart disease risk factors requires a concentrated effort in a number of areas. The CDC’ “Vital Signs” report on hypertension and high cholesterol sets out a series of preventative measures: improved access to care; better preventive care; and better patient adherence – .meaning that it’s up to you to hold up your end of the bargain. Set your own initiatives to promote staying active, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight.
The leading preventable cause and leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease, and the leading causes of that include high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is a scary thing when the heart starts having difficulty – it’s best to give it lots of healthy foods and exercise so that it can continue to do its life-saving job every day.