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Fact Sheet

High Blood Pressure

May 31, 2002
Contact: CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease
Prevention & Health Promotion
(770) 4885131

  • The percentage of adults reporting that they had high blood pressure increased from 22.9 percent in 1991 to 24.9 percent in1999. Increases were reported in almost all race/ethnic, gender, and education groups except in persons aged 20-44 years.

  • High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, both leading causes of death in the United States. About 1 in 4 American adults have high blood pressure.

  • High blood pressure is easily detectable and usually controllable with lifestyle modification (such as increase physical activity, reduce salt intake) with or without treatment.

  • High blood pressure is defined by a systolic pressure of more than 140 or a diastolic pressure of more than 90. Ideal adult blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.

  • In 1999, the percentage of self-reported high blood pressure was higher among blacks than other racial /ethnic groups, among men than women, and in persons with less education.

  • The percentage of self-reported high blood pressure ranged from 14.0 percent in Arizona to 31.6 percent in Alabama. Only Arizona, Connecticut, and Oklahoma reported declines in the percentage of self-reported high blood pressure.

  • The percentage of adults in the United States who reported ever having their blood pressure checked reached 100 percent by 1995 in all states. From 1991 to 1999, the percentage of those reporting that they had their blood pressure checked within the preceding 2 years has decreased slightly.

  • The percentage of persons reporting having had blood pressure checked within the preceding 2 years was higher among blacks, women, and persons with greater than 12 years of education.

  • States reporting significant increases in blood pressure checked within the preceding 2 years include Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Vermont. Thirty states reported declines in screening.

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