High Blood Pressure Basics

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February 6, 2013

Americans suffer more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes each year. Every day, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease-that's 815,000 Americans each year, or 1 in every 3 deaths.

We're all at risk for heart disease and stroke. People of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities are affected. However, certain groups-including African Americans and older individuals are at higher riskExternal Web Site Icon than others.

African American adults are much more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and heart attack and stroke deaths than White adults. Individuals living below the federal poverty level are more likely to have high blood pressure compared with those living at the highest level of income. Million HeartsTM initiative is a national public-private partnership that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017 by using clinical and community prevention to improve the ABCS:


  • Aspirin as appropriate
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation

In 2013, CDC and other public and private partners will continue a strong focus on helping Americans get their blood pressure under control by:

  • increasing collaboration between clinical medicine and public health
  • spreading clinicians' best practices
  • raising awareness of the importance of home blood pressure monitoring
  • promoting new applications (apps) for assessing risk factors like high blood pressure
  • releasing new Spanish-language materials


Get your blood pressure under control. Your life depends on it. If you have high blood pressure, you're at risk for heart attack and stroke. You can reduce your risks by knowing and controlling your blood pressure.

  • Get your blood pressure checked and then monitor it regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet, be physically active, don't smoke, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Take your medications as prescribed to control your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • If you have trouble with side effects, talk to your health care professional about other medications you can try.
  • Take a moment to talk with a health care professional (a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or community health worker) about your blood pressure. He or she can dispense advice, not just medicine.

Get involved and share your commitment to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the next five years by taking the Million HeartsTM pledge: http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.

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