Know Your Number !!

Recent reports show one in five Americans do not know their blood pressure number.  High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major modifiable risk factor to reduce the risk of stroke , heart attack , kidney disease and heart failure  ( and death).

Quick Stats:

High blood pressure, or hypertension, in the United States has increased from approximately 50 million from 1988 through 1994 to 65 million in the period from 1999 to 2004. In 2005, an estimated 33.6% of the population, more than 73 million Americans, had hypertension. From 1995 to 2005, the death rate from high blood pressure increased 25% and the actual number of deaths increased 56%. In 2005, high blood pressure killed approximately 58,000 people.

Why you should know your number:

Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and renal disease, and early data indicates that untreated high blood pressure shortens life expectancy by approximately five years. The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk of MI, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease.

The risk of cardiovascular disease beginning at a BP of 115/75 mmHg doubles with each 20 mmHg incremental increase in systolic BP or 10 mmHg incremental increase in diastolic BP. In younger people, elevated diastolic BP is associated with more cardiovascular disease risk than increased systolic BP.  (Be sure you didn’t miss my post earlier this week about the alarming data recently reported from a Canadian Study on childhood obesity and the measured changes in aortic stiffness- basically young overweight children showing early signs of heart disease, as early as at 13!) However, starting at age 50, systolic BP becomes the more important risk factor.

Hypertension Classification

Blood pressure classification is based on the average of two or more properly measured, seated BP measurements made on each of two or more office visits.

Blood Pressure Classification in Adults1
BP Classification Systolic Blood Pressure Diastolic Blood Pressure
Normal < 120 < 80
Prehypertension** 120 to 139 80 to 89
Stage 1 hypertension 140 to 159 90 to 99
Stage 2 hypertension = 160 = 100
** “prehypertension” -These patients are at increased risk for clinical hypertension. Although they don’t require drug therapy, they should practice lifestyle modification. Lifestyle changes can potentially lower BP and reduce the risk of progression to hypertension.

Know Your Number !

Post by David Dansereau for

David Dansereau
David Dansereau (









1. American Heart Association. High blood pressure statistics. American Heart Association Web site. Accessed on May 23, 2010.

Published by David Dansereau

Licensed Physical Therapist, Nutritionist and Author in private consulting practice at PTC Physical Therapy Consulting and SmartMovesPT. is my blog and members resource to raise stroke awareness and educate the public about reducing stroke risk as well as provide tips, tools and review new technologies for stroke recovery. Learn about my book, Body in Balance sold on Amazon at

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