AUSTIN (KXAN) — The American Heart Association says more than 116 million adults have high blood pressure, and many don’t even know it.
A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association supports the findings showing Americans are losing the battle controlling high blood pressure over the last 20 years.
Researchers found people in the study who had uncontrolled blood pressure did not have a health care visit in the past year. “That’s the trouble with high blood pressure. It has this sort of moniker as the silent killer because you don’t really have symptoms necessarily,” said Dr. John Moscona, an Interventional Cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin.
He is especially concerned with a wave of people in their 20s and 30s, unaware they even have high blood pressure until later in life.
“Someone may find out because they have their first heart attack at age at age of 45 or 50. The data shows high blood pressure doesn’t just affect your mom and dad or grandmother or grandfather. It starts early, we see that data,” Dr. Moscona said.
Doctors fear the pandemic may make things worse, with many people skipping the doctor’s office for health screenings.
“Just getting screened, that’s really got to be the best strategy,” Dr. Moscona said.
“We put stents in people who are 42 years old too often who come in with their first heart attack, and nobody wants that,” he said.
A previous study in JAMA found high blood pressure was one of the biggest predictors of severe illness and death from COVID-19.