National High Blood Pressure Education Month Highlights Risks from High Blood Pressure & Ways to Control It

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month & Stroke Awareness MonthIn 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:
  • 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

  • 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:

More Information

See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:

Optimism & Positive Outlook May Help Prevent Heart Attack, New Study Finds

Ninety Percent of Americans Eat Too Much Salt, CDC Reports

10 Foods Largely Responsible for 9 of 10 Americans Eating Too Much Salt, New CDC Report Finds

Dietary Trans Fats Markedly Increase Stroke Risk Among Older Women, New Study Finds

Daily Diet Soft Drinks Linked to Higher Heart Attack & Stroke Risk, New Study Finds

Can Eating Fish Reduce Your Risk of Stroke?

Eating Citrus Fruit May Lower Stroke Risk, New Study Suggests

Improving Your Health Literacy May Help You Improve Your Health, Survey Suggests

Harvard Medical School Issues Tips on How to Take Your Own Blood Pressure At Home

HHS & Public-Private Partners Aim to Prevent 1 Million Heart Attacks & Strokes in 5 Years

For more information on high blood pressure, see the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on High Blood Pressure, including:

For more information on heart disease and stroke, see the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on Heart Disease & Stroke, including


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