SHAPE Observes First "Texas Blood Pressure Day" Event by Urging Everyone to Check for High Blood Pressure Regularly

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High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious condition that, if untreated, can worsen over time, leading to coronary heart disease, heart failure, aneurysms, stroke and kidney failure.

Approximately one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure and more than 20% don't even know they have it. Known as the silent killer, there are often no symptoms until the heart, arteries, and other organs are already damaged. And because of the obesity epidemic, more and more children are developing high blood pressure at earlier and earlier ages.

In the United States, blood pressure readings of less than 120/80 are considered normal. Readings between 120/80 and 139/89 are termed pre-hypertension. Anything above this level is regarded as hypertension, a serious medical condition requiring a doctor's care.

That's why periodically checking blood pressure is so important. In recent studies, researchers determined that consistent tracking the entire family's blood pressure at home can help control hypertension. These days, this potentially life-saving practice has become easier as the cost of home blood pressure monitors has diminished and accuracy has been improved.

“Both blood pressure and atherosclerosis are silent killers, blood pressure is silent until heart failure or a stroke occurs, and atherosclerosis is silent until a heart attack or sudden death occurs. As the present standard of treatment often cares for patients only after heart, vascular or kidney damage occurs, reimbursement policies need to be changed to help detect and prevent these silent killers before damage is allowed to happen," said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, the founder of SHAPE and the Executive Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force that calls for an overhaul of existing cardiovascular healthcare policies.

Controlling Hypertension

Lifestyle changes are the cornerstone for preventing or controlling hypertension. These include reducing the use of salt and alcohol as well as maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and the elimination of smoking. However, if blood pressure readings are very high or the individual has been unsuccessful at controlling hypertension through lifestyle changes, the doctor may prescribe anti-hypertension medications.

For more information on hypertension see:

The Society for Heart Attack Prevention & Eradication (SHAPE) is a tax-exempt public health organization created to promote public awareness, professional education and research related to early detection, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis (arterial plaque), the most prevalent underlying cause of heart attacks and stroke. SHAPE is committed to educating doctors and their patients about the devastating consequences of not screening for the accumulation of arterial plaque. Additional information is available at: To get involved with SHAPE and become a volunteer, please email us at: info(at)shapesociety(dot)org or call 713-529-4484.

The SHAPE Task Force, an international group of leading cardiovascular physicians and researchers, has created the SHAPE Guidelines, which educates physicians how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaque) and implement proper treatment to prevent a future heart attack. According to the SHAPE Guidelines, individuals with high risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within the so called “normal range”. Knowing one's plaque score is important. In fact, it can be a matter of life and death. Additional information is available by calling 1-877-SHAPE11. Additional information is available at

The SHAPE Task Force includes the following:

Morteza Naghavi, M.D. – Executive Chairman
PK Shah, M.D. – Chair of Scientific Board
Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D. – Chief of Editorial Committee

SHAPE Task Force Members:

Arthur Agatston, M.D., Dan Arking, Ph.D., Juan J. Badimon, Ph.D., Raymond Bahr, M.D., Daniel S. Berman, M.D., Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., Jay N. Cohn, M.D., Michael H. Davidson, M.D., George A. Diamond, M.D., James Ehrlich, M.D., Raimund Erbel, M.D., Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D., Zahi Fayad, Ph.D., Sergio Fazio, MD, PhD, Steven B. Feinstein, M.D., Craig Hartley, Ph.D., Harvey S. Hecht, M.D., Howard Hodis, M.D., Ioannis Kakadiaris, Ph.D., Sanjay Kaul, M.D., M.P.H., Asher Kimchi. M.D., Wolfgang Koenig, M.D., Ph.D., Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D., Daniel Lane, M.D., Ph.D., Roxana Mehran, M.D., Ralph Metcalfe, Ph.D., Morteza Naghavi, M.D., Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D., Jagat Narula, M.D., Paolo Raggi, M.D., George P. Rodgers, M.D., James HF Rudd, Ph.D., John Rumberger, M.D., Ph.D., Robert S. Schwartz, M.D., PK Shah, M.D., Leslee Shaw, M.D., Henrik Sillesen, M.D., Ph.D., David Spence, M.D., H. Robert Superko, M.D., Allen Taylor, M.D., Pierre-Jean Touboul, M.D.

Distinguished SHAPE Task Force Advisor: Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair of SHAPE Board of Directors: JoAnne Zawitoski
SHAPE Task Force Executive Coordinator and SHAPE CEO: Richard Hellner
Executive Director of SHAPE Center of Excellence: Jeff Fine, Ph.D.

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