Medicine: Hidden Threat

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a primary cause of 25,000 deaths and many of the more than 1,500,000 heart attacks and strokes that Americans suffer each year. The condition, the causes of which are not fully understood, plays a role in kidney problems and diabetes as well. In fact, doctors have long estimated that some 23 million Americans—one out of every nine—have hypertension, half of them without knowing it. Last week the Louisiana Heart Association presented evidence that even that somber estimate may be far too low.

The new data were provided by a two-day screening for hypertension carried out...

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