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High Blood Pressure

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It The Institute of Medicine says America's forgotten how dangerous high blood pressure can be:

Dr. Corrine Husten, IOM committee member says "It's fallen off the map in recent years and hasn't gotten much attention."

There's a lot of old advice in this report: Eat right, watch your weight, and limit salt.

But here's what's new:

Virtually all of us, 98 percent of Americans are short on potassium, which actually lowers blood pressure.

Where do you get it?

Dr. David Fleming, IOM committee chair says "When your mom was telling you 'Eat your fruits and vegetables, she was telling you: eat your potassium."

And there's a new call for doctors to treat patients more aggressively:

Dr. Corrine Husten says "If the clinicians are not viewing this as a problem per se... they're not even telling a person necessarily that the number is high."

Medical groups say doctors try to be 'good guys' Giving patients a chance to eat better and exercise before putting them on medication.

Today's advice: don't be afraid of the pill.

Dr. Lawrence Appel, American Society of Hypertension says "Almost 100% of us at some point in our life are gonna be on these medications to control blood pressure - it's just a matter of when."

The report suggests individuals can only do so much, they need help: like cities building walkways to make it easier and safer to get exercise, and restaurants and food manufacturers cutting the salt.

Experts say hypertension is a big problem, but it's easy to prevent, and simple to treat.


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And experts say it's woefully underfunded. The CDC spends 54 million a year on all heart diseases. Hypertension alone costs the economy 73 billion.

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