(NBC) - Over half of the 67-million American adults with high blood pressure cannot get it under control.
It's a new statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has floored some cardiologists, because despite their best treatment efforts uncontrolled blood pressure levels have been going through the roof for years.
"I'm surprised that these numbers are where they are because they're the same numbers we saw 20-25 years ago," says the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. David Frid.
The majority of hypertension patients are going to the doctor and are on blood pressure medication, but according to the new report it's not enough.
High blood pressure is a major red flag for heart disease and stroke risk and doctors say patients must be more aggressive about getting their blood pressure down to a healthy level.
"If you're going to be on medication, why not make that medication as effective as possible and hit your goal?" Dr. Frid asks.
Lacing up your sneakers is the first step, as exercise has been shown to help reduce blood pressure.
Experts also recommend fitting more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet and purchasing home blood pressure kits to keep track of your own levels at least once a week.
According to the CDC report, the health care cost of high blood pressure is more than $130-billion a year.