As stunning as it may sound, according to a 2023 report from the American Heart Association, nearly half of Americans aged 20 and over, or more than 122 million people, have high blood pressure.
And even if your indicators are normal now, they are likely to increase with age. More than three-quarters of Americans aged 65 and over have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
A new study has found that most Americans don’t know the normal or healthy blood pressure range, but, amazingly, they think they do. And this is a cause for serious concern, writes Science Alert .
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The study was led by a health communications expert and a cardiologist. Together with health officials, they surveyed more than 6,500 Americans about their knowledge of blood pressure. They were recruited as part of the Understanding America study, a representative sample of US residents.
In a new study published in January 2023, researchers found that 64 percent expressed confidence in their understanding of blood pressure numbers, but only 39 percent actually knew what normal or healthy blood pressure is.
Such false confidence can be harmful because it can prevent people from seeking medical care for high blood pressure. After all, if you think it’s normal, why talk to your doctor about your blood pressure?
Part of the reason for this self-confidence starts in the doctor’s office. Typically, a nurse will bring a blood pressure cuff, place it over your upper arm, and take a reading. The nurse can announce the result, remove the cuff and write it down for the doctor. When the doctor arrives, the session may well move on to other matters without saying a word about measuring blood pressure.
This is likely because your doctor wants to focus on how you feel and why you are here. But as a result, you may leave your appointment thinking your blood pressure is fine, even if it isn’t.