ND Fighting Hypertension

BISMARCK, N.D. - One in three American adults has high blood pressure. Nearly half of all cases are not under control, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many are like Tab Thompson, who thought he was healthy. He ate right; he exercised. But after back-to-back physicals showed his blood pressure rapidly increasing, he knew it was time to do something.

He’ll tell you the same thing: convincing him that he had blood pressure issues was a tough sell.

"I don't eat junk food. I don't drink soda. Again, I was pleading my case until the case was shown to me that a lot of times that stuff doesn't matter," Thompson said.

Both his parents had high blood pressure. Bringing his dad to appointments is what connected him to the American Heart Association's TargetBP initiative.

Hypertension increases the chances of a heart attack, stroke, and other fatal incidences. Something Tab is too familiar with.

"I had a brother that died about 10 years ago, and then two other problems that had issues but not with their hearts. So preventative things; I just started to take it upon myself to do that. So that's the main reason I came in; just to make sure everything was kosher," Thompson said.

About 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, according to the CDC.

In 2014, it was a factor in more than 1,100 deaths per day. Doctors call hypertension a "silent killer."

"It can stay asymptomatic for decades a time while it's doing damage to our organs, and we don't know we have it we don't check our blood pressure until we have something bad happen,” Dr. Khalin Dendy, Sanford internal medicine physician.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of adults with hypertension ballooned from nearly 600 million in 1975 to more than 1.1 billion in 2015. And the CDC says services and medications bring in nearly $50 billion each year in America alone.