High blood pressure education

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.   High blood pressure affects one third of U. S. adults, or approximately 75 million persons, yet approximately 11 million of these persons are not aware they have hypertension, and approximately 18 million are not being treated, according to a CDC release of May 27, 2016.

Certain groups are at increased risk for hypertension, including minorities and some women.  In the United States, African-American men and women have higher rates of hypertension than any other race or ethnicity, and they are also more likely to be hospitalized for hypertension.   Women with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to have complications during pregnancy than are women with normal blood pressure.  Hypertension can harm the mother’s kidneys and other organs, and it can cause low birth weight and early delivery.

Also according to the CDC, hypertension affects persons of all ages: approximately one in four men and nearly one in five women aged 35-44 years have hypertension.   New research also indicates that having uncontrolled high blood pressure during midlife (aged 45-65 years) increases the risk for dementia later in life.  Vascular dementia — one of the most common types of dementia — is usually caused by the impact of multiple strokes over time, including small “silent” strokes that occur unnoticed.  Hypertension is the main cause of these strokes.

Most persons with uncontrolled hypertension have health insurance (82%) and see their providers at least twice a year (62%), but their hypertension remains undiagnosed.  The CDC urges patients and health care providers to learn more about the risk for high blood pressure at any age and encourages health care professionals to take steps to identify and treat patients with undiagnosed hypertension.

Information about hypertension is available at http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure