Hypertension

Hypertension is also referred to as High Blood Pressure. Hypertension is a condition in which the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. Blood pressure varies throughout the day. Previous measures for normal and high blood pressure for adults varied slightly by age and gender. Most recently, according to the CDC, a person may be defined as having Stage 1 hypertension (high blood pressure) when their blood pressure is at or above 130/80 (systolic/diastolic pressure), and Stage 2 hypertension when their blood pressure is at or above 140/90 (CDC, 2023). Some health rankings, such as America’s Health Rankings of the United Health Foundation, are now showing the ‘Percentage of adults who reported being told by a health professional that they had high blood pressure’ in Louisiana to be at around 40 percent (2022 edition). Louisiana’s estimated percentage is around 8 percent higher than the rest of the United States (US) overall (which is around 32 percent), and 14 percent higher than was estimated in Louisiana 20 years ago. Note, what qualifies as high blood pressure; quality of reporting; and access to health care are all factors that have changed during this time.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for heart disease. This condition can be a precursor for other health risks as well, such as:

  • later disability
  • dementia
  • kidney disease
  • nerve damage to the eyes
  • sexual dysfunction
  • heart attack
  • internal bleeding (aneurysm)
  • stroke
  • death

 

You can work with your health care provider to determine the best prevention strategies and daily activities to lower your blood pressure into a healthy range. These may include learning more about healthy changes in nutrition, integrating an achievable exercise plan into your daily routine, discussing available medications, and reducing or eliminating additional risks such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

 LDH Tracking has included hypertension as a health outcomes measure in the Health Data Portal because scientists are studying the associations between high blood pressure and the environment. High Blood Pressure is associated with high adult blood lead levels, as well associated with exposure to outdoor air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3). High blood pressure can be a risk factor for other health conditions. In addition to the health associations listed above, hypertension can contribute to poor health outcomes in childbirth such as preterm birth. Preterm birth, or prematurity, is when a baby is born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy have completed.

 

To explore and compare health data with environmental and other data, related to hypertension, click here.

Data Source:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke