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Notice to Readers: National High Blood Pressure Education Month, May 2007, and World Hypertension Day, May 17

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month in the United States, and May 17 is World Hypertension Day. Approximately 72 million persons in the United States aged >20 years have high blood pressure (i.e., systolic blood pressure >140 mm Hg or diastolic pressure >90 mm Hg, are taking antihypertensive medication, or have been told on two or more visits to a physician or other health professional that they have high blood pressure) (1). High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death, respectively, in the United States.

Lowering high blood pressure, which can prevent deaths and reduce adverse effects from heart disease and stroke, can be achieved through lifestyle modifications alone or in combination with drug therapy (2). Lifestyle changes include reducing body weight, adopting a diet high in fruits and vegetables but low in fat, reducing dietary sodium, increasing physical activity, and moderating alcohol consumption. In addition, stopping smoking improves overall cardiovascular health. The most recent recommendations for the detection and treatment of high blood pressure are available from the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (2). Additional information on prevention and treatment of high blood pressure is available from the American Heart Association at or from CDC at


  1. American Heart Association. Heart disease and stroke statistics---2007 update. Available at
  2. Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, et al. Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension 2003;42:1206--52.

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Date last reviewed: 5/2/2007


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