MAY is NATIONAL HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE EDUCATION MONTH
High blood pressure also known as hypertension, is a leading cause of preventable death among African Americans. African Americans have the highest risk for high blood pressure and related deaths, including heart attack and stoke. Older adults, persons with low income, low education, public health insurance, diabetes, obesity, or a disability have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure than others. Biological risk factors include sensitivity to sodium (salt), Type 2 diabetes, gout, kidney disease, and family history. Environmental risk factors include lack of access to healthy foods and stress, such as financial strain and racial discrimination.
Did you know that:
• African American women have the highest prevalence (45%) and lowest control of high blood pressure (59%).
• African Americans get high blood pressure at a younger age.
• African Americans suffer more of the complications from high blood pressure, including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dementia, and heart disease.
• 43% of African American men and 45.7% of African American women have high blood pressure.
• In 2009, 6,574 black males and 6,951 black females died as a result of high blood pressure.
• Risk factors that can be changed include unhealthy diet, low physical activity, obesity, heavy drinking, smoking, effects of stress and caffeine consumption.
• Risk factors that cannot be changed include age, gender, race/ethnicity, and family history.
You can lower your risk for high blood pressure:
• Eat a healthy diet. Choose foods low in sodium (salt). Most Americans consume more sodium than recommended. African Americans as well as adults aged 51 years and older and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should consume only 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
• Get moving. Staying physically active will help you control your weight and strengthen your heart. Try walking for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, at least 5 days a week.
• Take your medications. If you have high blood pressure, your health care provider may give you medicine to help control it. It's important to follow your doctor's instructions when taking the medication. Tell your health care provider if the medicine makes you feel bad. Your doctor can show you different ways to reduce side effects or recommend another medicine that may have fewer side effects.
High blood pressure is a silent killer. Know your numbers.
Take a minute to visit the American Heart Association website to assess your high blood pressure-related risks.
For more information, read our High Blood Pressure Education Worksheet here.