Did you know that May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month? Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and recognized by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the purpose of National High Blood Pressure Education Month is to raise awareness about the impact of hypertension.
High blood pressure affects nearly 68 million Americans, but many people don’t even know they have high blood pressure.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk for heart problems such as stroke or heart attack, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Fortunately, high blood pressure is treatable and preventable. This is why it is important to know your numbers!
Here are 3 Surprising Facts About Blood Pressure:
1. High blood pressure may be linked to dementia. Studies show that high blood pressure is linked to a higher risk for dementia, a loss of cognitive function. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4226890/
2. High blood pressure can happen to anyone. Women are about as likely as men to develop high blood pressure during their lifetimes. However, for people younger than 45 years, the condition affects more men than women. For people aged 65 years and older, it affects more women than men.
3. A diet high in sodium (salt) increases the risk for higher blood pressure and most people eat more than double the amount of salt than they should! Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that adults, in general, should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
To lower your risk, get your blood pressure checked regularly, maintain a normal body weight, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and try following a healthy eating plan, rich in fruits, vegatable and low in sodium. And of course, if you have high blood pressure and are prescribed medication(s), take as directed.
For more information, please see the following additional CDC resources—
- CDC Vital Signs offers recent data on High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.
- CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report—United States, 2011. This is the first in a periodic series of reports examining disparities in selected social and health indicators, including prevalence of hypertension and controlled hypertension.
- New Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report Finds Population Based Efforts Needed for Prevention and Control of Hypertension. The IOM outlines the need for a population-based approach and policy intervention to address hypertension in the United States.
- Application of Lower Sodium Intake Recommendations to Adults—United States, 1999–2006. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 27, 2009.
- Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention’s Sodium Web site. Reducing sodium intake improves blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke for everyone, even those who have normal blood pressure.
- Prevalence of Actions to Control High Blood Pressure—20 States, 2005.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 4, 2007.
- Hypertension-Related Mortality Among Hispanic Subpopulations—United States, 1995–2002. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, February 24, 2006.
- Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Prevalence, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension—United States, 1999–2002. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 14, 2005.
- High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet.
- Pulmonary Hypertension Fact Sheet.
- State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program Addresses High Blood Pressure.