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ALBANY: Getting a new message across

Montana's case was particularly unique. Even though there was a family history of high blood pressure, he lived a highly active lifestyle during his pro football career. But there were some factors that elevated his risk for high blood pressure including his diet.

"It was typically American " the food was good, and it was even better if it was more," said Montana. "I ate everything and anything, and salted everything before I ate it."

"The main thing is Joe is very typical of what exactly we're trying to say," said Rippe. "He has made some lifestyle changes, but Joe was never significantly overweight. He was always in quite good shape " in the top 1 percent. He never smoked cigarettes, and he's made some slight modifications. But the reality is Joe is on two medicines to lower his blood pressure, plus he's made some lifestyle changes, and that's exactly what we're recommending in the 'BP Success Zone.'"

High blood pressure is a reality many more Americans will likely face " whether or not they are athletes.

"I think we all need to be aware of it," said Montana. "Athletes probably worry less about their health on the whole because they always feel like they are working out or doing something.""

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