High blood pressure is contributing to more deaths in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control. The National Center for Health Statistics, which is one of many departments in the CDC, said that deaths related to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increased 61.8 percent. This increase was measured from 2000 until 2013, and researchers used the statistics from the national cause-of-death reports to come to this conclusion. Researchers also made sure to include any references to high blood pressure on death certificates, even if it was not the main cause of death, such as it being a contributing factor. Throughout the 13 years, both men and women over the age of 45 had significant increases in deaths related to high blood pressure.
The good news from the researchers is that deaths related to heart disease decreased 6 percent, which includes deaths where heart disease was an underlying cause. The number of deaths that had strokes as the underlying cause also dropped, but only went down around 5 percent. This is a a fairly good indication that research and treatment for strokes and heart disease are working, and is one of the reasons that deaths in these two categories went down. There has been a lot of effort in the medical community the past 15 years to get people more educated on the warning signs of strokes, as well as education about heart-related deaths and heart disease.
One out of every six deaths in the past 13 years has listed high blood pressure as an underlying cause, which means treatment of high blood pressure needs to be a priority in the medical community. It’s not just high blood pressure alone either, because high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing cancer and also diabetes. When you look at the numbers, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and diabetes were the cause for over 65 percent of all deaths that also included high blood pressure. This means that in order to get the high blood pressure death rate down, there also needs to be a focus on other medical conditions, especially diabetes. People who are diabetic often will have high blood pressure and people with high blood pressure also develop diabetes, so it’s a cycle that feeds off of itself.
While the report does show a lot of promise as far as heart-related deaths go, the increase in deaths due to high blood pressure is very concerning. Part of the correlation is due to how many people in the United States are overweight, which increases the risks of developing diabetes and high blood pressure. There is also the fact that people might be getting treatment for their heart-related conditions, but maybe aren’t taking medications or the right medications to treat other underlying conditions like high blood pressure. Doctors might also be overlooking high blood pressure when they do physical examinations, especially for the group of people who are more on the borderline of high blood pressure. The same can be said for diabetes since there is a group of people who tend to stay on the higher side of average as far as blood sugar goes, and then end up never getting on medications because technically they are not considered diabetic.
The best thing that both the patients and doctors can do is to regularly monitor blood pressure levels, especially if there is a family history of high blood pressure or diabetes. People should also get regular blood sugar checkups to ensure they are not sitting right at the pre-diabetes glucose levels. People who are borderline for both diabetes and high blood pressure also should consider a low-dose medication to help them keep their levels in control, which can help cut down the possible complications, such as death, later in life.