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Why Is High Blood Pressure More Common in Southeastern US?

Why Is High Blood Pressure More Common in Southeastern US?
October 10
11:08 2018

High blood pressure, technically known as hypertension, is one of the leading causes of death in America. It is estimated that nearly 68 million Americans have high blood pressure and about 20% of them don’t even know it. Considering that the current population in the United States is 328 million, that means that one out of every 4.8 people in the country have high blood pressure.

According to one source:

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  • Less than half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
  • High blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths a day.
  • Approximately 20 percent of U.S. adults who have high blood pressure do not know they have it.
  • Almost 30 percent of American adults have prehypertension, which raises the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Sixty-nine percent of people who have a first heart attack, 77 percent of people who have a first stroke, and 74 percent of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
  • In 2009, nearly 350,000 American deaths included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
  • The U.S. isn’t the only country facing high blood pressure; globally, 40 percent of adults ages 25 and older had high blood pressure in 2008. Financial Costs

  • High blood pressure costs the nation $47.5 billion annually in direct medical expenses. Another $3.5 billion is attributed to lost productivity each year.
  • Costs to the nation due to high blood pressure are estimated at $131 billion in health care services, medications and missed days of work.
  • Annual costs directly attributable to high blood pressure are projected to more than double over the next two decades. Based on 2010 annual costs, an increase of $130.4 billion is anticipated by 2030, bringing the projected annual total to $200.3 billion by 2030. (2010 figures are based on real 2008 dollars.)
  • Reducing average population sodium intake from 3,300 mg to 2,300 mg per day may save $18 billion in health care costs and reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million annually.

If you look at a map of the United States and plot the incidence of high blood pressure, you may be surprised to see that the highest rates occur in the southeastern part of the country.

So, why is high blood pressure so much more prevalent in the southeastern United States?

According to a recent report:

“There is a huge disparity in high blood pressure rates among black and white Americans, and scientists believe Southern food may partly explain why.”

“Southern cuisine heavily features fried foods, offal and processed meats, egg and egg dishes, added fats, high-fat dairy foods, sugar sweetened beverages, and bread, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

“Heart disease is the biggest contributor to the lower lifespan on average between black and white people in the U.S. To discover why, scientists investigated high blood pressure rates in African American and white populations.”

“The resulting study published in the journal JAMA found African-American people were more likely to eat Southern cuisine. And items like processed meats including country ham, cornbread and egg dishes washed down with sugary drinks were found to be the most potent contributors to higher rates of hypertension.”

No one questions how good southern cooking tastes, but as many of us are learning, many things that taste good are the very things that will kill us sooner. No one likes giving up these tasty delights, considering the consequences, it may well be worth consideration.

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HLA Staff

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