High blood pressure is the number one modifiable risk factor for stroke. In addition to stroke, high blood pressure also contributes to heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure, and atherosclerosis. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. In the United States, one in three adults has high blood pressure, and nearly one-third of these people are not aware that they have it. Because there are no symptoms associated with high blood pressure, it is often called the “silent killer.” The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure can occur in people of any age or sex; however, it is more common among those over age 35. It is particularly prevalent in African Americans, older adults, obese people, heavy drinkers, and women taking birth control pills. Blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes including eating a heart-healthy diet, limiting alcohol, avoiding tobacco, controlling your weight, and staying physically active.
*This indicator shows the percentage of adults who have been told they have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mm Hg for an adult. Blood pressure above this level (140/90 mm Hg or higher) is considered high (hypertension).