Author Affiliations: Science, Quality, and Public Health (Dr Havas), Science Policy (Dr Dickinson), and Professional Standards (Dr Wilson), American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois.
Approximately 16.7 million individuals worldwide,1 including 850 000 in the United States,2 annually die of cardiovascular diseases. Almost 8 million of these deaths are attributed to hypertension (systolic blood pressure [SBP] ≥140 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure [DBP] ≥90 mm Hg or taking antihypertensive medication).3 Many additional deaths are attributable to prehypertension (SBP ≥120-139 mm Hg and/or DBP ≥80-89 mm Hg). In the United States, more than 27% of adults have hypertension and another 31% have prehypertension.4 The lifetime probability of developing hypertension in the United States approaches 90%.5 Worldwide, more than 26% of adults have hypertension.6
Havas S, Dickinson BD, Wilson M. The Urgent Need to Reduce Sodium Consumption. JAMA. 2007;298(12):1439-1441. doi:10.1001/jama.298.12.1439