26 pct. of Minn. adults suffer from high blood pressureby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — As many as 26 percent of Minnesota adults have high blood pressure.
The state's numbers are better than the national average which is around 30 percent.
But the Minnesota Department of Health says there are still too many Minnesotans with uncontrolled hypertension.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are the second and third leading causes of death in the state, said James Peacock with the Department of Health's disease and stroke prevention unit.
"It's not so much that if you have high blood pressure that you're definitely going to have a heart attack or stroke, but it is a major contributor to both of those events," Peacock said. "When you have also high cholesterol, or you are also obese or you also have diabetes or you also smoke that really exponentially increases that risk."
Blood pressure is considered too high once it reaches 140 over 90.
Peacock said patients can reduce their numbers by quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, reducing salt intake, and if necessary, taking medications.
Patients should know their blood pressure numbers and paying attention to how they fluctuate, Peacock said.
"If you know that you have high blood pressure then it's easy to go in and ask a physician or whoever you go to for medical advice to help you figure out a way to reduce that," he said. "That will thereby reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke in the future."