In a statement issued May 2, Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month and Stroke Awareness Month.
These events, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, under HHS, focus on educating Americans about high blood pressure and its risks, which include stroke — the fourth leading cause of death in the United States — according to HHS.
“Unfortunately, 1 in 3 U.S. adults—an estimated 68 million of us—have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. This ‘silent killer’ can damage the heart, brain, and kidneys without a single symptom,” Secretary Sebelius said in her Statement.
Each year, more than 795,000 Americans have a stroke and more than 130,000 people in the United States die every year after a stroke—an average of one stroke-related death every 4 minutes, according to HHS.
“Together, the financial costs of high blood pressure and stroke are staggering: annual costs of hypertension are $156 billion, with medical costs accounting for nearly $131 billion and lost productivity from illness and premature death of about $25 billion a year. Annual stroke costs to the nation are more than a billion dollars a week,” HHS said.
“Right now, half of those Americans with high blood pressure still don’t have it adequately controlled. African Americans are at particular risk—often having more severe hypertension, and developing it at younger ages,” Secretary Sebelius said.
However, “Fortunately, there are some things in life you can control—and blood pressure is one,” the HHS Secretary said.
Information on How to Control Your Blood Pressure & Prevent Stroke
As part of observing National Blood Pressure Education Month and National Stroke Awareness Month, HHS’ National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) provide patient and consumer information, educating the public on high blood pressure and stroke, their risks, treatments, and how to prevent them.
Among the resources provided are the following:
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Website on High Blood Pressure. The NHLBI provides a website on What Is High Blood Pressure? It provides information to help you understand your blood pressure numbers, and what they mean. According to the site, 120/80 is normal blood pressure for most adults, while a “Systolic reading” (top number) above 140 and/or a “Dialostic reading” (bottom number) above 90 would indicate high blood pressure for most adults. More information is provided on the NHLBI’s site linked above.
- Video from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) on Managing High Blood Pressure with Lifestyle Changes. On its website, the NHLBI also provides the following video, instructing about simple lifestyle changes you can make to keep your blood pressure under control:
- The National High Blood Pressure Education Program by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This program provides health information for:
- Other Information on High Blood Pressure and How to Control It Provided by the National National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Other information and materials provided by NHLBI include:
- Facts About the DASH Diet. DASH is an eating plan rich in fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods and lower in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. It has been shown to reduce high blood pressure. The fact sheet gives an overview of the plan and a week of DASH menus.
- Heart healthy recipes from the NHLBI Stay Young At Heart Program, as well as special Latino and African American recipe books.
- (Facts About) How to Prevent High Blood Pressure. This fact sheet gives an overview of hypertension.
- Special booklets series for African Americans and Latinos on how to prevent and control cardiovascular risk factors. The Latino series is in Spanish and English.
- I.Q. Quizzes about the Healthy Heart and Physical Activity.
- Information on women and heart disease, at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/ and http://womenshealth.gov/heartattack/.
- A website on Achieve Your Healthy Weight. The site offers practical information on weight loss, including heart healthy recipes, and tips on how to make behavior changes, choose a weight loss program, and shop for low calorie foods.
- Information and Resources Provided by the Million Hearts Campaign. Co-sponsored by HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the CDC, along with several private and non-profit partners, the Million Hearts Campaign aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over five years — by 2017.
“Helping Americans with high blood pressure get it under control to reduce strokes and other forms of cardiovascular disease is a high priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and through our national Million Hearts initiative, we are making a difference,” said HHS Secretary Sebelius in her Statement regarding National Blood Pressure Education Month.
“Million Hearts is working to reduce high blood pressure with a one-two punch; the first, focusing health care professionals, health systems, insurers, employers, and individuals on the link between good blood pressure control and good health and, the second, encouraging all Americans to know their blood pressure, monitor it regularly, and talk with their doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or community health worker about how to keep it in the normal range,” Secretary Sebelius explained.
“From diet and physical activity to medications, there are easy, effective and economical ways to measure, routinely monitor, and control blood pressure,” Secretary Sebelius said.
“Million Hearts is supported by the many improvements to health care provided by the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which now strengthens the prevention of stroke by ensuring that many adult patients receive preventive services, including blood pressure screenings, at no cost,” the HHS Secretary’s Statement said.
For information on preventive services available with no cost-sharing, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/prevention.
- Information on High Blood Pressure, Heart Diseases & Stroke, Provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Among the information provided by the CDC are the following resources:
- High Blood Pressure resource pages on the CDC website;
- High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet from the CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention;
- May is High Blood Pressure Education Month materials from the CDC;
- May is National Stroke Awareness Month materials from the CDC;
Health Care/Other Professional
Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure
See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:
- Latest News on High Blood Pressure;
- What is it; Causes;
- Symptoms & Diagnosis;
- News on Heart Disease & Stroke;
- What are these conditions; Causes;
- Symptoms & Diagnosis;
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