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What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, otherwise known as High Blood Pressure (HBP), occurs when your heart is pumping blood at an elevated rate for long periods of time. Your heart rate is supposed to rise and fall throughout the day, but having high pressure levels can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Why Should You Care?

  • 33% of U.S. adults have HBP
    • That's approximately 68 million people!
      • 69% of people with their first heart attack have HBP
      • 77% of people who have their first stroke have HBP
      • 74% of people who have chronic heart failure have HBP
  • HBP is a primary / contributing cause of death in 348,000 people
  • Around $131 billion is spent in medical costs
    • Approximately $25 billion is lost in worker productivity
  • 30% of adults have prehypertension, which means that their blood pressure is borderline, but not in the HBP range
  • Only 46% of people with HBP have their condition in control

Risk Factors / Causes

There are a few factors that can influence your chances for High Blood Pressure:

• Low body water levels • Kidney condition
• Nervous system condition • Blood vessel condition
• Level of body hormones • High dietary salt
• African American ethnicity • Family history
• Being overweight / obese • Overstress / anxiety
• Too much alcohol • Smoking

Secondary factors include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Narrowed arteries to kidneys
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Certain medications, such as:
    • Birth control
    • Diet pills
    • Cold meds
    • Migraine medication


The beginning stages of HBP, for some people, may appear to be silent without symptoms until pressure rises high enough to trigger any of the below. 

• Severe headache • Vision changes
• Nausea / vomiting • Nosebleeds
• Confusion • High cholesterol
• Heart disease • Kidney disease


HBP can be managed through several steps:

• Eat a heart-healthy diet • Lower sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day            
• Lower total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol • Quit smoking
• Exercise regularly • Maintain a healthy weight
• Reduce stress • Limit alcohol intake

* CIS does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The content is for informational purposes only.

Source: Center for Disease Control

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