'Silent killer' puts millions of Americans at risk

Nearly 5 million U.S. adults aged 65 and older are not taking their blood pressure medication properly, putting them at risk for severe health complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and early death, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 70 percent of American adults 65 and older have hypertension – but only about half of them manage to keep their blood pressure under control, according to the CDC.

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden called the findings “troubling” in a press briefing today. “There’s a reason hypertension is called the silent killer,” he said.

For the report, government researchers analyzed data from more than 18.5 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage during 2014. In addition to the overall rate of people adhering to treatment, they looked disparities based on geography, race/ethnicity, and income status, among other factors.

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