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31 Alarming High Blood Pressure Statistics for 2020

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious medical condition that develops over the course of several years. Did you know that you can have high blood pressure and not even know? The high blood pressure statistics also reveal that millions of people suffer from this condition and that eventually everyone is affected by it.

However, even though it’s a serious condition, high blood pressure can be prevented, or at least easily managed. Keep scrolling to find out more about how to prevent hypertension, what causes high blood pressure, and get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Additionally, we will also debunk some hypertension myths.

But first, take a look at these figures and facts on high blood pressure:

The Top 10 Essential Hypertension Statistics and Facts

  • More than 100 million people in the US have high blood pressure.
  • People with hypertension are 3 times more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  •  In 2013, over 360,000 people in the US died due to high blood pressure.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 people are not aware they have high blood pressure.
  • Every year, high blood pressure costs the US economy $47.5 billion in medical expenses alone.
  • According to the stats on hypertension, the global prevalence of high blood pressure is 40%.
  • It’s estimated that more than 972 million people in the world have high blood pressure.
  • Approximately 7.5 million people around the world die every year due to high blood pressure.
  • Around 8 in every 10 people who have a stroke also suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Over 50% of people with high blood pressure have chronic kidney disease.

General Statistics and Facts About High Blood Pressure

1. A person has normal blood pressure if their systolic reading is less than 120 mmHg and the diastolic is less than 80 mmHg.

(AHA)

Everything higher than that is considered elevated or high blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood flowing through a person’s blood vessels is repeatedly too high. Since generally there are no obvious symptoms, the best way to diagnose high blood pressure is to check these measurements regularly.

2. Hypertension stats report that 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women in the 35–44 age group have high blood pressure.

(CDC) 

High blood pressure is not a condition that only affects the elderly, young people can also suffer from it. Younger people should check their blood pressure at least once every year. Nowadays that can be done in almost every pharmacy or grocery store, you don’t even need a doctor’s appointment.

3. According to recent facts about sodium and high blood pressure, people who suffer from hypertension need to consume less than 1 teaspoon of salt a day.

(Mental Floss) 

It’s not recommended to eat foods that are high in salt if you suffer from high blood pressure. Salt causes water retention, and more water causes a higher blood volume, which then leads to increased pressure on the heart and blood vessels.

4. People with hypertension have a 300% greater chance of suffering from heart disease.

(Blood Pressure UK) 

Additionally, hypertension statistics from 2017 state that people with high blood pressure also have a three times greater chance of having a stroke. Furthermore, they are twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke than people with normal blood pressure.

5. 75% of women who’ve gone through menopause in the US suffer from high blood pressure.

(Mental Floss) 

Research shows that before middle age, men and women have similar hypertension rates. Estrogen helps women’s vascular health, but its levels decrease during menopause, which can then lead to high blood pressure.

Facts About Low Blood Pressure

6. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, occurs when a person’s blood pressure is lower than 90/60.

(MedicineNet) 

Hypotension may seem like a more desirable option, but it’s as equally dangerous as having high blood pressure. Low blood pressure can deprive a person’s vital organs of oxygen, which can prevent them from working properly and thus cause permanent damage.

7. 10%–20% of adults 65 and up have postural hypotension.

(WebMD) 

As the blood pressure facts report, postural hypotension happens when a person’s cardiovascular or nervous systems fail to react to sudden changes. This is most often seen when a person stands up and they experience lightheadedness or dizziness. Usually, when a person stands up, their blood pressure increases. However, in the case of postural hypotension, the situation is reversed, and the blood pressure falls, depriving the brain of oxygen and causing dizziness.

8. As the low blood pressure statistics show, 40%–80% of elderly people with high blood pressure also have postprandial hypotension.

(Journals of Gerontology) 

To put it simply, eating can cause low blood pressure. The same research has shown that this is a very common disorder with the elderly, and in the majority of cases, the systolic blood pressure decreases more than 20 mmHg within 75 minutes of eating. Postprandial hypotension can cause falls, dizziness, instability, syncope, coronary problems, stroke, and even death.

Statistics on Hypertension in the United States

9. More than 100 million people in the US have high blood pressure.

(AHA) 

This accounts for almost half of the adults in the US. The research also estimates that this will lead to more than 1 million heart attacks—or even deaths—caused by coronary heart disease, in one year alone.

10. In 2013, over 360,000 people in the US died due to high blood pressure.

(CDC) 

As the CDC hypertension statistics state, this means that hypertension was the main or contributing cause of almost 1,000 deaths every day. High blood pressure also increases the risk of developing other health issues like heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure, kidney disease, and many other conditions.

11. Approximately 1 in 5 people are unaware they have high blood pressure.

(CDC) 

Nowadays more and more people are aware of their condition, especially those older than 60. However, as the hypertension facts claim, a great majority of people still don’t know they have hypertension. This can be easily avoided with regular check-ups.

12. Every year, high blood pressure costs the US economy $47.5 billion in medical expenses alone.

(AMGF) 

In addition to this, the lost productivity caused by hypertension costs the nation another $3.5 billion. Overall, the medical expenses, productivity loss, care services, and medications cost the nation more than $131 billion every year. Additionally, some interesting facts about hypertension predict that by 2030 these costs will reach $200 billion.

13. The medical expenses for people with high blood pressure are nearly $2,000 higher than they are for people with normal blood pressure.

(AHA Journals)

Research shows that the average annual medical expenses caused by high blood pressure are not just hard on the national economy, but on individuals, as well. Furthermore, the research has shown that these costs have been stable for 12 consecutive years.

High Blood Pressure Statistics Worldwide

14. Approximately 7.5 million people around the world die every year due to high blood pressure.

(WHO) 

Hypertension accounts for about 12.8% of all annual deaths in the world. In addition to this, scientists have discovered that with each increase of 20/10 mmHg of blood pressure, the chances for cardiovascular disease doubles. On the other hand, these complications will decrease with proper treatment, extra exercise, and practicing common sense when it comes to your diet.

15. It’s estimated that more than 972 million people in the world have high blood pressure.

(Medscape) 

According to the high blood pressure statistics from 2019, this accounts for about 26% of the world’s population. Scientists also believe that this number will rise as more nations develop further. They predict that by 2025, the high blood pressure prevalence will reach 29%.

16. Africa has the highest hypertension prevalence with 46% of adults older than 25 suffering from high blood pressure.

(WHF, Cardio Smart) 

Africa is by far the continent with the highest rate of high blood pressure patients. Meanwhile, the African American high blood pressure statistics report that this US demographic has the highest chances of developing hypertension by middle age.

17. Studies have discovered that 75% of African Americans develop hypertension, in comparison to 40%–55% of white Americans.

(Cardio Smart) 

The research shows that only 40% of white women and 55% of white men develop high blood pressure by middle age. However, it also reveals that the most important thing in the prevention of hypertension in African Americans is to begin making healthy lifestyle choices at a young age.

18. Hypertension statistics worldwide claim that the global prevalence of high blood pressure was 40% in 2018.

(WHO) 

The overall prevalence rate of people older than 25 with high blood pressure, or uncontrolled hypertension, slightly decreased from 1980 to 2008. But due to the aging and growing global population, the total number of people with uncontrolled hypertension rose from 600 million to 1 billion in the same period of time.

19. If high-blood-pressure trends continue, hypertension statistics estimate that the global cost could be more than $1 trillion.

(NCBI)

In 2001, the global cost of high blood pressure was approximately $370 billion. This accounted for only 10% of all of the health costs on the global level. Central Asia and Eastern Europe were responsible for 25% of this cost. Research has also estimated that besides medical expenses, the indirect costs of high blood pressure could reach $3.6 trillion.

Pulmonary Hypertension Statistics

20. People older than 75, women, and non-Hispanic blacks have the highest chances of developing pulmonary hypertension.

(CDC)

This kind of high blood pressure occurs when pressure in the blood vessels traveling from the heart to the lungs rises. Usually, the blood pressure in these blood vessels is lower, because it doesn’t have to travel very far, so when the blood pressure rises, the blood vessels narrow, which results in decreased blood flow, as well as oxygen levels in the blood.

21. The pulmonary hypertension facts reveal that patients have 2.8 years life expectancy left if the condition isn’t treated.

(Pulmonary Hypertension News)

This condition worsens over time, and there’s no cure for it. However, with the use of certain medications, the life expectancy of pulmonary hypertension patients can be prolonged to 5–7 years. There are also several factors that impact the lifespan of these patients. The prevalence is greater in women, but age plays a major role: the average age of death is 64 years.

Statistics on Hypertension and Comorbidities

22. It’s estimated that in 26% of the cases of hypertension in men, weight is the main cause.

(OAC) 

In addition to this, struggling with obesity or being overweight is also the main cause of hypertension for 28% of women. Losing weight and switching to a healthier lifestyle can help greatly. However, if it doesn’t, obesity-caused hypertension can be treated with antihypertensives, that is, blood pressure medications.

23. Around 8 in every 10 people who have a stroke for the first time also suffer from high blood pressure.

(CDC) 

High blood pressure and stroke statistics also reveal that 7 in 10 adults in the US who suffer from high blood pressure use medications for this condition. In addition to this, Americans visited their doctor over 55 million times in just one year to seek help for hypertension. Hypertension also causes or worsens other heart diseases like coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest.

24. Studies show that more than 30 million people in the US suffer from diabetes, and 73.6% of them have high blood pressure, as well.

(NCBI) 

Hypertension statistics from 2018 also show that the link between diabetes and high blood pressure is an excessive caloric intake, a sedentary lifestyle, and insulin resistance. Lack of physical activity and excessive intake of calories lead to increased weight, which furthermore leads to insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.

25. Over 50% of people with high blood pressure have chronic kidney disease.

(National Kidney Foundation) 

Hypertension is one of the main causes of kidney disease. High blood pressure damages blood vessels, which, as the high blood pressure facts show, at the same decreases the blood supply to vital organs, including the kidneys. In addition to this, hypertension damages the kidneys’ filtering units, which can result in kidneys not filtering the waste and excess fluids from a person’s body.

On the other hand, chronic kidney disease can cause high blood pressure. Kidneys are responsible for keeping the blood pressure levels steady, and non-functioning kidneys can’t do that, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.

26. Stats on high blood pressure reveal that 80% of strokes can be prevented if people treat their high blood pressure.

(WebMD) 

Constant high blood pressure levels put the arteries under enormous pressure, so they over-pump the blood and make the artery walls thinner, and the arteries generally weaker. There are two types of strokes: stroke caused by obstructed blood flow and stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, or around it. Hypertension increases a person’s chances for both.


High Blood Pressure Facts and Myths

27. Myth:

If hypertension runs in the family, it can’t be prevented.

(AHA) 

It’s true that high blood pressure can run in a family, and if a person’s parents or close relatives have hypertension, they are more likely to develop it, as well. However, there are many ways to prevent its development—one of the main ones is to lead a healthy lifestyle, quit smoking, get more exercise…

28. Myth:

High blood pressure isn’t as dangerous as people think.

(WebMD) 

Both epidemiological statistics of hypertension and the facts on this condition show that, in fact, there’s justified reason hypertension is called the “silent killer.” Since there usually aren’t visible symptoms, people don’t realize how big of a problem it is, but it can be fatal if it’s not treated. As we mentioned, it damages blood vessels, arteries, and vital organs, and it causes other serious medical conditions.

29. Myth:

People who aren’t under any stress can’t develop high blood pressure.

(Rush University) 

The facts about hypertension debunk this myth, as well. Anyone can develop hypertension, regardless of their character, life experiences, or personality. Also, people who are typically calm can still develop high blood pressure. Lower stress levels do lower the chance of you developing it, but it’s not a guarantee.

30. Myth:

As long as one number in the blood pressure reading is normal, everything will be alright.

(WebMD) 

Your blood pressure level is represented by two numbers. The top number, your systolic pressure, is the force of blood through your vessels during your heartbeat. Facts about blood pressure state that the bottom number, the diastolic blood pressure, shows the force of blood through the blood vessels while the heart rests between beats. 

Now, it’s true that blood pressure levels can vary throughout the day. However, if any of these two numbers are continuously higher or lower than the norm, you should take action.

31. Myth:

Doctors say that wine is good for the heart, so it doesn’t matter how much you drink.

(AHA)

Some interesting facts about high blood pressure show that even though wine can have some health benefits, it shouldn’t be consumed heavily. Any alcohol should be consumed in moderation because too much alcohol can cause heart conditions, stroke, cancer, obesity, suicide, various accidents, and of course, alcoholism.

In general, men shouldn’t consume more than two drinks per day, and women should limit their alcohol intake to one drink a day. One drink is defined as 4 oz of wine, 12 oz beer, 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor, and 1 oz of 100-proof liquor.


FAQ

What percentage of the population has high blood pressure? 

Approximately 29% of the American population suffers from high blood pressure. To put it more simply, that’s 1 in every 3 US adults. Anyone can develop hypertension, regardless of their age. Luckily, the CDC has various programs that teach people how to prevent and manage their high blood pressure.

What is the number 1 cause of high blood pressure?

Unfortunately, the cause of hypertension is unknown in the great majority of cases. Often it’s linked to other underlying medical conditions, like diabetes, chronic kidney disease, pheochromocytoma (a rare cancer of the adrenal gland), hyperthyroidism, Cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hyperparathyroidism, obesity, sleep apnea, and even pregnancy.

What country has the highest blood pressure?

In 2015, the prevalence of high blood pressure in women over the age of 18, was approximately 20%, and it was 24% in men. Central and Eastern Europe had the greatest prevalence of men with hypertension, with Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Slovenia leading the pack. Almost two in every five men in these countries had high blood pressure at the time of the study.

Conversely, Africa had the highest number of women with high blood pressure. What’s more, Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Somalia were in the top five African countries. Close to one in every three women in these countries suffered from hypertension.

Which race has the highest rate of high blood pressure?

Those of African descent have the highest high blood pressure prevalence. There are some theories as to why this is the case, and they claim that higher rates of diabetes and obesity among this demographic lead to higher rates of high blood pressure.

Some researchers have also found that this group has a gene that makes them more sensitive to salt and thus more prone to developing hypertension. Some of the latest hypertension statistics by race have revealed that just half a teaspoon of salt, only 1 gram, can raise the blood pressure of people with this gene as high as 5 mmHg.

Conclusion

High blood pressure is the leading cause of many serious health conditions, and deaths. However, it is also the most preventable one. Even if you don’t have elevated blood pressure levels, you should take preventive action and keep those blood levels at a steady rate.

The high blood pressure statistics show that reducing salt and caffeine intake are just some of these measures. Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and generally having a healthy lifestyle can greatly help in the prevention of hypertension.

Remember to test your blood pressure regularly and talk to your doctor if you suspect that you, or someone you love, could have elevated or high blood pressure. If you have hypertension, or someone dear to you suffers from it, you’re not alone. These statistics demonstrate that you have nothing to be scared of. 

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