Blood pressure1 is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure. You have high blood pressure if your readings show that your systolic is 140 or higher OR your diastolic is 90 or higher. This post ”8 Hypertension Facts to Know from CDC” seeks to provide updated information about this disease.
Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. This a major health risk for Black Americans since high blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic black adults2 (54%) than any other group according to the CDC.
Facts About Hypertension in the United States
In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association published new guidelines for hypertension management and defined high hypertension as a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mmHg. Stage 2 hypertension is defined as blood pressure at or above 140/90 mmHg.
|Blood Pressure Category||Systolic Blood Pressure||Diastolic Blood Pressure|
|Normal||<120 mm Hg||and||<80 mm Hg|
|Elevated||120-129 mm Hg||and||<80 mm Hg|
|Stage 1||130-139 mm Hg||or||80-89 mm Hg|
|Stage 2||≥140 mm Hg||or||≥90 mm Hg|
- Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.
- In 2017, nearly half a million deaths in the United States included hypertension as a primary or contributing cause.
- Nearly half of adults in the United States (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension.
- Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control.
- About half of adults (45%) with uncontrolled hypertension have a blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. This includes 37 million U.S. adults.
- Half of the adults (30 million) with blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg who should be taking medication to control their blood pressure aren’t prescribed or aren’t taking medication.
- High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death in 2017 for more than 472,000 people in the United States. That’s nearly 1,300 deaths each day.
- High blood pressure costs the United States about $131 billion each year, averaged over 12 years from 2003 to 2014.
Rates of High Blood Pressure Control Vary by Sex and Race
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is common; however, certain groups of people are more likely to have control over their high blood pressure than others.
- A greater percentage of men (47%) have a high blood pressure than women (43%).
- High blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic black adults (54%) than in non-Hispanic white adults (46%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (39%), or Hispanic adults (36%).
- Among those recommended to take blood pressure medication, blood pressure control is higher among non-Hispanic white adults (32%) than in non-Hispanic black adults (25%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (19%), or Hispanic adults (25%).
Rates of High Blood Pressure Vary by Geography
High blood pressure is more common in some areas of the United States than in others. Below is a map showing the self-reported rate of hypertension by state in 2011 (using a definition of hypertension as a blood pressure ≥140/≥90 mm Hg). However, this map likely underreports the true effect of hypertension in each state, because about 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure is unaware of it and would not report having it.
How is high blood pressure diagnosed?
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So the only way to find out if you have it is to get regular blood pressure checks from your health care provider. Your provider will use a gauge, a stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff. He or she will take two or more readings at separate appointments before making a diagnosis.
You have high blood pressure if your readings show that
- Your systolic is 140 or higher OR
- Your diastolic is 90 or higher
Some providers may consider you to have high blood pressure if you have other heart risk factors and
- Your systolic is between 130 and 139 OR
- Your diastolic is between 80 and 89
Blood pressure readings above 180 /120 are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
For children and teens, the health care provider compares the blood pressure reading to what is normal for other kids who are the same age, height, and gender.
What are the different types of high blood pressure?
There are two main types of high blood pressure: primary and secondary high blood pressure.
- Primary, or essential, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. For most people who get this kind of blood pressure, it develops over time as you get older.
- Secondary high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or the use of certain medicines. It usually gets better after you treat that condition or stop taking the medicines that are causing it.
Why do I need to worry about high blood pressure?
When your blood pressure stays high over time, it causes the heart to pump harder and work overtime, possibly leading to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure.
What are the treatments for high blood pressure?
You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.
If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.
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