National High Blood Pressure Education Month – May

National High Blood Pressure Education Month – May

National High Blood Pressure Education Month- May

May 2021

Incidence of high blood pressure in the United States

About 108 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). High blood pressure affects about 54% black adults, 46% white adults, 39% Asian adults and 36% Hispanic adults.

What is blood pressure?

The pressure of blood pushing on the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure (BP) is measured as systolic and diastolic. Systolic number is pressure of blood in the arteries when the heart beats and diastolic is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.

What is high blood pressure (Hypertension)?

For adults, according to American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association  guideline, 2017, normal BP is BP less than 120/80 mmHg. Systolic BP between 120 – 129 and diastolic greater than 80mmHg is considered elevated or pre-hypertension. Stage I hypertension is systolic BP 130 -139 or diastolic 80 -90 mmHg and stage II hypertension is BP greater than 140/90 mmHg. Long time effect of uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

Types of hypertension

What is hypertension? ImageThere are two types of hypertension, primary and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension is also called idiopathic or essential hypertension. There is no known cause of essential hypertension and it’s the most common type affecting about 90%  to 95% of people with hypertension. Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure with some known causes such as endocrine or kidney problems.

Signs and symptoms of high blood pressure

Many people with high blood pressure do not know they have the problem. It is diagnosed when blood pressure is measured by a healthcare professional mainly during routine health maintenance checkup.

Risk factors for High blood pressure

Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

Hereditary or genetics, age, physical inactivity, obesity, nicotine use, poor diet including high sodium intake, and stress.

Preventing High Blood Pressure

You can prevent or control high blood pressure by making lifestyle modifications that include:

  • Physical activities – exercising for at lease 30 minutes five times per week
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Avoiding nicotine use
  • Eating healthy, limiting excess salt and

reducing alcohol use

  • Managing stress
  • Self-measure blood pressure

Controlling/Managing high blood pressure

In secondary hypertension, the underlying cause is identified and treated. While in primary hypertension, common symptoms are treated. Treatment for primary hypertension include the use of diuretics to reduce water/fluid volume and medications to relax arterial walls.

Taking medications as prescribed and making healthy lifestyle modifications will improve blood pressure and reduce the chance of developing complications of hypertension such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and death.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Facts about hypertension. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). High blood pressure symptoms and causes. Retrieved from

Other Resources

Nutrition and Healthy Eating:

How to Reduce Sodium:

Video: How much exercise should you get each week?  How much exercise should you get each week?

For more information

Contact UDC University Health Services