High Blood Pressure on the Rise in Missouri
The number of Missourians with high blood pressure has risen dramatically in recent years, reflecting a national trend reported in a new study released this week. This increase in high blood pressure puts many more people at risk for stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.
More than 27 percent of adults in Missouri have high blood pressure, a 22 percent increase since 1988, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
"More people with high blood pressure is bad news for the nation and for Missouri," said Judy Alexiou, program manager for the Missouri Heart Disease and Stroke Program. "High blood pressure can lead to very serious, life-threatening conditions. We must work to turn this trend around."
The national study shows 65 million, or 30 percent, of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, compared to 50 million reported in a 1995 study. The study is based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2000.
According to the study, the rise in high blood pressure can be attributed to an increase in obesity and an aging population. But steps can be taken to address high blood pressure.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers the following recommendations to help prevent or reduce high blood pressure:
In addition to the medical risks, high blood pressure is a costly problem. Hospital expenses due to high blood pressure have more than doubled in the past decade in Missouri, from $47 million in 1993 to slightly more than $100 million in 2002 . This does not include hospitalization costs related to cardiovascular disease, which often is a result of high blood pressure.
The Mississippi County Health Department offers free blood pressure screening every day on a walk-in basis. The Health Department also offers free diet counseling from a Registered Dietitian to help prevent or reduce high blood pressure. For more information about these services, contact the health department at 573-683-2191.