High blood pressure 'neglected' disease, report says

One in three adult Americans has high blood pressure. Each year the condition is linked to a third of the nation’s heart attacks and almost half of the new cases of heart failure. Moreover, nearly 17 percent of deaths in the United States each year are related to high blood pressure.

Still, the Institute of Medicine today issued a report calling high blood pressure a “neglected” disease. The institute, founded in 1970, is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. It is an independent nonprofit organization that provides advice on health matters to the government.

Today’s report called on doctors, nurses and public health officials to increase their efforts to get control of America’s blood pressure problem.

Rather than simply teaching people about the dangers of high blood pressure, the ten experts on the committee that wrote the report said more must be done to support healthy eating habits, lower salt intake, and increase exercise and physical activity among Americans. Those actions could help prevent more people from developing high blood pressure and improve the health of those who already have it, the committee said.