May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month in the US. For this observance, we will be bringing you a series of articles on blood pressure and hypertension.
Here are some statistics on hypertension.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 74.5 million – number of people in the US have high blood pressure or hypertension.
- 45 million – number of Americnas who consulted a doctor for hypertension in 2006
- 326,000 – number of Americans who died with high blood pressure as primary or contributing cause of death in 2006
- $76.6 billion – estimated direct and indirect health care costs for hypertension management in 2010.
Other Quick Facts from the CDC:
- Almost 90% of adults aged 45–64 years will develop high blood pressure during the remainder of their lifetime.
- About 25% of American adults aged 20 years or older have prehypertension.
- One of every three U.S. adults aged 20 years or older have hypertension.
- Nearly one of five people have hypertension and are not aware that they have it.
- In the United States, high blood pressure is more common among blacks than whites. About 44% of black women have high blood pressure.
- Mexican-Americans have the lowest level of hypertension control compared to non-Hispanic whites and blacks.
So why is high blood pressure a major health concern?
Because hypertension is a major major risk factor for stroke, heart disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
How can we increase our awareness about high blood pressure?
In observance of this month, the American Heart Assocaition gives us several resources on high blood pressure.
Look at this 5-step blood pressure awareness program:
- Leanr about High Blood Pressure (HBP).
- Disocver why HBP matters
- Undertsnad your rislk fro developin HBP
- Diagnose and monitor HBP
- Prevent and treat HBP
Test your knowledge of HBP facts and myths by taking the HBP Quiz “Can You Escape the Silent Killer.”
How can we prevent HBP?
- Here are some tips from the CDC:
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
- Maintain a normal body weight (body mass index of 18.5-24.9 which is kilograms divided by height in meters squared).
- Keep up physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
- Follow a healthy eating plan of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in sodium.
- Quit smoking.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation (≤ 2 drinks per day for men and ≤ 1 drinks per day for women).
- If you have high blood pressure and are prescribed medication(s), take as directed.