By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a big problem, because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, something that 85 million people struggle with in the United States.

And doctors say part of the problem is there are usually no symptoms.

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Vikram Marla was diagnosed with hypertension ten years ago. He says stress at work contributed to the problem.

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“I used to put in a lot of long hours. I used to own a company, a lot of stress,” he said.

According to a new CDC report, approximately 30 percent of people have high blood pressure and about half of them don’t have it under control.

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“You can have heart attacks from that; you can have an increased incident of stroke,” Dr. Ravi Dave.

Doctors say poor diet and lack of exercise are often reasons why patients can’t keep their blood pressure in check.

“The longer you wait the more harm you’re doing to your body,” Dr. Dave said.

Marla now keeps his blood pressure under control with medication. He’s also changd his lifestyle.

“Exercise and medication is something everyone can do,” Marla said.

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Doctors say limiting salt consumption is also important for controling hypertension and deep breathing can be a quick and temporary way to bring down blood pressure.

Stephanie Stahl