An Increases in deaths due to uncontrolled high blood pressure is slowing the progress in the fight against heart disease, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reports NBC News.
While there’s been an overall decrease from deaths from heart disease in the last 20 years, the rate of that decline has slowed since 2010, the study found.
“In addition to rising rates of deaths related to high blood pressure, rates of heart disease deaths linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes — once declining — have leveled off,” the NBC News report said.
For their research, study author Dr. Sadiya Khan, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, and her colleagues searched a public Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database for death certificates from 1999 to 2017
“The fact that we are not seeing that translate into improvement in death rates is concerning,” Khan said.
Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States – claiming more than 800,000 lives each year, according to the American Heart Association.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can contribute to a person’s death in a number of ways. “Hypertension that is really out of control could lead to a tear in a blood vessel,” said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It could also lead to swelling in the brain, heart attack, stroke, and contribute to heart failure and kidney failure,” Bhatt, who was not involved in the current study, said.
Factors such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes could also lead to heart disease deaths. These factors have become more widespread in the past two decades.
The American Heart Association recommends several ways to lower your blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range. Those include:
- Eating a well-balanced diet that’s low in salt.
- Limiting alcohol to two drinks a day for men, one for women.
- Exercising about 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
- Quitting smoking.
- Losing weight if your body mass index is over 25.
With the advent of wearable technology, it is easier than ever to monitor blood pressure. Companies like Withings, Omron and Aktiia make wearable devices that deliver accurate blood pressure readings.