Pressure Check

Are we worrying so much about cholesterol that we're ignoring the risks of high blood pressure?

For the past 25 years, doctors in the U.S. have warned their patients about the dangers of high blood pressure, a generally symptomless condition that increases the risk of heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. By aggressively treating folks whose readings exceed the normal limit of 140/90 mm Hg at rest, physicians have prevented millions of premature deaths and untold suffering. But it looks as if we've stopped getting the message. A national health survey released two years ago showed that blood-pressure rates are no longer falling; at the same time, the incidence of stroke has started to rise.

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