The number of people living with high blood pressure is spiraling and will likely become an epidemic unless extensive and aggressive treatment plans are implemented, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

According to the CDC, one in three American adults (about 67 million) has high blood pressure and more than half (about 38 million) don’t have the condition under control. High blood pressure and hypertension are key contributors to heart disease and stroke-two of the leading causes of death in the country that hit the African-American community the hardest.

The numbers are staggering, with high blood pressure being a major contributing factor in the deaths of nearly 1,000 people daily across the country. The CDC estimates the numbers will continue to increase unless intense measures are implemented.

“We have to roll up our sleeves and make blood pressure control a priority every day with every patient at every doctor’s visit,” said Thomas Frieden, a physician and director of the CDC. “With increased focus and awareness, we can help 10 million Americans get their blood pressure under control in the next five years.”

In a related issue, in late 2010, the CDC awarded several states, including New York, a lion’s share of a $1.9 million federal grant to promote healthy living. The states of California, Kansas and New York were the recipients of about $750,000 each. A portion of those funds were allocated to counties in New York City and Los Angeles with large African-American populations. While no hard statistics are available to track the participation and/or success of the grants in those communities, some in the medical community contend the effort has fallen short.

Doctors attribute high sodium and salt, poor eating habits and lack of exercise as the root causes of hypertension.

In his book, “High Blood Pressure: The Black Man and Woman’s Guide to Living with Hypertension,” Atlanta-based author and physician James Reed advises, “The real way to bring down the amount of salt you eat is to become a salt detective. The food will taste different, but the superb natural flavors of vegetables and meat will shine through.”

To view the most recent study about hypertension from the CDC, visit www.cdc.gov.