Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts July 2003
Short Cuts:HEALTH BEAT
It’s Been a Pressure
One in four American adults has high blood pressure, or
hypertension, and 90 percent of Americans over 55 will develop the
disorder. Increased pressure against the blood vessel walls can
lead to stroke, heart failure, even blindness. Yet, because it
rarely presents symptoms, many people with hypertension don’t even
know they have it.
In May, the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov) released its new
blood-pressure guidelines. Now, individuals with pressure rates of
120/80 and higher are considered “pre-hypertensive” and at risk for
the disorder. Consuming more vegetables and less sodium and
alcohol, losing weight, and getting brisk exercise almost every day
can help lower the numbers.
Stopping smoking does not affect blood pressure but will
decrease the risk of related diseases. It is unknown whether stress
relief has a long-term effect.
For more information, and to read the new guidelines, visit the
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute on the Web at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp.
• JONATHAN VATNER
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