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High Blood Pressure Awareness

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Do you have a high blood pressure? It’s a pretty straightforward question, but new research suggests if you do, you may not realize it.

A study of more than 140,000 adults finds about half of people with high blood pressure — or hypertension – have no idea they have the condition. That’s worrisome, according to the study’s authors, because uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase risk for heart disease, strokes and early death.

Researchers from McMaster University’s medical school analyzed data on about 140,000 people aged 35 to 70 who had been enrolled in a long-running study of health in urban and rural settings. People were determined to have high blood pressure if they had at least two measurements of 140/90 — — or if they reported getting treated for high blood pressure. A normal blood pressure reading should be around 120/80.

About 58,000 participants, or 41 percent of the participants had high blood pressure. But, only 46 percent of them were aware of it. The study authors say these findings are disturbing especially because blood pressure lowering drugs are inexpensive and commonly available.

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