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Study: Government goal to control blood pressure met

CHICAGO - Half of the 70 million Americans with high blood pressure are keeping it under control with medication, meeting a government goal set a decade ago and reducing their risk of life-threatening health problems, a study suggests.

Almost one in three adults has high blood pressure. In 1988, only about 27 percent of them kept it under control. By 2007- 08, that number had climbed to 50 percent, according to the study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings "should be cause for celebration," although more work needs to be done, said Dr. Aram Chobanian of Boston University, who was not involved in the study.

Millions of Americans still have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which can raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. And the prevalence of the disease is increasing.

Many people require more than one drug to reduce blood pressure. Cost and lack of access to physicians is also an issue.

"We're doing a better job of treating, but we're not improving it in the first place," said lead author Dr. Brent Egan of the Medical University of South Carolina. - AP