More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says

February 1, 2018, American Heart Association
More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says
Credit: American Heart Association

The number of Americans at risk for heart attacks and strokes just got a lot higher. An estimated 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, according to new statistics from the American Heart Association. That's nearly half of all adults in the United States.

"With the aging of the population and increased life expectancy, the prevalence of high is expected to continue to increase," said epidemiologist Dr. Paul Muntner, co-chair of the group that wrote the AHA's "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2018 Update," published Wednesday in Circulation.

The death rate from high blood pressure increased by nearly 11 percent in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and the actual number of deaths rose by almost 38 percent—up to nearly 79,000 by 2015, according to the statistics. Worldwide, high blood pressure affects nearly a third of the adult population and is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease-related deaths, said Muntner, a professor and vice chair in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Guidelines published last November redefined high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, as a reading of 130 on top or 80 on the bottom. The standard used to be 140 over 90. The percentage of U.S. adults with high blood pressure jumped from 32 percent under the old definition to nearly 46 percent.

"Before this guideline, if your blood pressure was at 130, you weren't supposed to do anything," said cardiologist Dr. Kenneth Jamerson, an author of the high blood pressure guidelines.

Credit: American Heart Association

"With the new [] guideline, we're having patients do something about it," he said. For his patients, that includes 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and the DASH diet, plus medication if the patient has additional risk factors, Jamerson said.

According to the statistics, only about one in five Americans gets enough exercise and poor eating habits contributed to 45 percent of U.S. deaths in 2012 from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

Overall, cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in the world, claiming nearly 18 million lives in 2015. In the United States, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death and stroke is No. 5.

Even so, these latest statistics show progress is being made, said Dr. Emelia Benjamin, who led the group that wrote the statistics report.

"We've made incredible inroads in cardiovascular disease," said Benjamin, a professor of cardiology at Boston University's School of Public Health. "There's a real focus on improving health by adopting a healthy lifestyle, not just waiting to develop before one focuses on ."

Explore further: Heart disease and stroke deaths decline slightly, new statistics find

More information: Emelia J. Benjamin et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2018 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association, Circulation (2018). DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000558

Related Stories

Heart disease and stroke deaths decline slightly, new statistics find

December 22, 2017
Deaths from heart disease and stroke have declined slightly, yet both diseases remain among the leading causes of death in the United States, new federal statistics show.

Latest statistics show heart failure on the rise, cardiovascular diseases remain leading killer

January 26, 2017
The number of adults living with heart failure increased from about 5.7 million (2009-2012) to about 6.5 million (2011-2014), according to the American Heart Association's 2017 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.

High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140: US guidelines (Update)

November 14, 2017
High blood pressure was redefined Monday by the American Heart Association, which said the disease should be treated sooner, when it reaches 130/80 mm Hg, not the previous limit of 140/90.

Primary care physicians cautious about new guidelines for high blood pressure

November 15, 2017
Primary care faculty at UMass Medical School will continue counseling patients about lifestyle modifications as well as medication to manage blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease risk rather than striving to achieve ...

New statistics show one of every three US deaths caused by cardiovascular disease

December 16, 2015
One of every three deaths in the U.S. in 2013 were from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, while heart disease and stroke were the No. 1 and No. 2 killers worldwide, according to American Heart Association's ...

African-Americans with healthier lifestyles had lower risk of high blood pressure

June 26, 2017
Among African Americans, small health improvements were associated with lower risk of developing high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension. African Americans who ...

Recommended for you

Effective drug delivery to heart with tannic acid

September 18, 2018
Typical methods of drug delivery to the heart require surgical procedures involving incisions in the chest wall and bones. To efficiently treat cardiovascular and related vascular diseases without surgery, a KAIST research ...

Daily low-dose aspirin found to have no effect on healthy life span in older people

September 16, 2018
In a large clinical trial to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, aspirin did not prolong healthy, independent living (life free of dementia ...

Financial incentives for cholesterol control may be cost-effective

September 14, 2018
A program that offered financial incentives to both patients and their physicians to control low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol could be a cost-effective intervention for patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease ...

Apple's smartwatch has a heart monitor now

September 13, 2018
There will soon be another way to monitor your heart—from your wrist.

3-D virtual simulation gets to the 'heart' of irregular heartbeats

September 12, 2018
In a proof of concept study, scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have successfully performed 3-D personalized virtual simulations of the heart to accurately identify where cardiac specialists should electrically destroy ...

Dairy consumption linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality

September 12, 2018
Dairy consumption of around three servings per day is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality, compared to lower levels of consumption, according to a global observational study of over 130,000 ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.