insurance

The cost of chronic disease

High blood pressure
Heart disease © Phase4Photography/Shutterstock.com

According to the CDC, "High blood pressure costs the nation $47.5 billion annually in direct medical expenses and $3.5 billion each year in lost productivity."

Cost-saving health tips: Cut the salt and take your meds. The CDC says reducing average daily sodium consumption from 3,300 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams could potentially save the nation $18 billion in health care costs and reduce the incidence of high blood pressure by 11 million cases a year. But getting there will take more than having home cooks pick up the salt shaker less often.

"Most of the salt we eat, we're not adding at the table ourselves," Bauer says. "Most of that salt is already in prepared, packaged and restaurant foods we buy."

Taking prescribed medication is critical to keeping high blood pressure under control and preventing the occurrence of related illnesses, Fonarow says.

"We have a number of well-tolerated, effective medications that ... can markedly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke," he says.

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