Blood pressure facts


Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. People of all ages and backgrounds can develop high blood pressure, and it's preventable.

America's High Blood Pressure Burden

  • About one out of three U.S. adults—31.3%—has high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
  • High blood pressure was listed as a primary or contributing cause of death for 326,000 Americans in 2006.
  • In 2010, high blood pressure will cost the United States $76.6 billion in health care services, medications, and missed days of work.
  • About 70% of those with high blood pressure and took medication had their high blood pressure controlled. The control rate was 46.6% among all hypertensive patients.
  • 25% of American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range. Prehypertension raises your risk for high blood pressure.

Levels Vary by Age

Women are about as likely as men to develop high blood pressure during their lifetimes. However, for people under 45 years old, the condition affects more men than women. For people 65 years and older, it affects more women than men.
AgeMen (%)Women (%)
75 and older65.080.2

Levels Vary by Race and Ethnicity

African Americans develop high blood pressure more often, and at an earlier age, than whites and Mexican Americans do. Among African Americans, more women than men have the condition.
Race of Ethnic GroupMen (%)Women (%)
African Americans42.244.1
Mexican Americans24.828.6

Americans Are Making Progress

Over the past decade, more people with high blood pressure, especially those 60 years and older, have become aware of their condition and gotten treatment.

Talk with Your Doctor About High Blood Pressure

  • In 2006, 66.2% of adults who visited their doctor had their blood pressure checked.
  • More than one in five (22.4%) people with high blood pressure don't know that they have it.
  • In 2006, Americans visited their doctors more than 40 million times to treat their high blood pressure.
  • More than two-thirds of Americans who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure use medications to treat the condition