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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2013 Feb;15(2):88-91. doi: 10.1111/jch.12033. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

The treatment of hypertension: a remarkable success story.

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Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


One of the most successful public health programs in the past century provides an example of what can be accomplished when the government, the private sector, academia, and community organizations work together. The results of 4 decades of activities of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) can be measured in several ways. The publics' awareness, treatment, and control have increased remarkably. Hypertension is the primary reason adults visit physicians. Age-adjusted mortality for heart disease and stroke has declined by 70% and 80%, respectively, since the beginning of the program. The decline in heart and stroke deaths is seen in both sexes and blacks and whites, and is particularly evident in people who reside in the southeastern portion of the United States, which once had the highest mortality rates of stroke in the United States. This dramatic decrease in strokes and heart disease has occurred despite the substantial increase in obesity and diabetes in the United States.

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