Almost two-thirds of adults do not know the upper thresholds for healthy blood pressure, according to a new study co-led by the Behavioral Sciences program at USC’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center For Health Policy and Economics. Their findings were published in the journal Medical Decision Making.

While most study participants could not correctly identify the numbers for healthy blood pressure, the majority were overly confident in their knowledge of blood pressure readings — and this false sense of confidence may encourage them to mistakenly think they don’t need care for hypertension.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Over time the condition, if left untreated, damages blood vessels, increases the risk of heart failure and leads to other serious — if not fatal — complications.

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