Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Font Size

1 in 3 Adults Has High Blood Pressure.

Obesity Weighs on 33% Increase in Americans
WebMD Health News

Aug. 23, 2004 -- The number of adults in the U.S. with high blood pressure increased by nearly a third during the last 10 years, according to the latest government figures. Sixty-five million Americans now have hypertension compared with 50 million a decade ago -- an 8% increase.

While much of the rise can be explained by the fact that the U.S. population is larger and older than it was 10 years ago, the increase in the number of overweight and obese Americans is also a major contributing factor, says American Heart Association spokesman David Goff, MD, PhD.

"Over the past 40 years we have seen heart attack and stroke rates go down, but now that blood pressure levels are going up we may soon see heart attack and stroke rates start to go back up as well," Goff tells WebMD. Goff is a professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Elderly, Blacks at Greatest Risk

The findings show that nearly a third of American adults have high blood pressure, defined for most people as having a systolic (top) number of 140 mm Hg or higher and/or a diastolic (bottom) number of 90 mm Hg or higher..

To come up with the new figures, government researchers analyzed data from the CDC's National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey of the U.S. from years 1988 to 1994 and compared them with data from 1999 to 2000. Hypertension was defined as having blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, using blood pressure lowering medication, or having been told at least twice by a doctor that they have high blood pressure.

Eighty percent or four out of five cases of hypertension occurred in people aged 45 and older. Along racial lines, non-Hispanic blacks, especially females had the highest rates of high blood pressure. They made up 40% of those found to be diagnosed with high blood pressure compared with 27% who were non-Hispanic whites and just under 29% who were Mexican Americans.

The findings are published in the latest online issue of the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Today on WebMD

blood pressure
Symptoms, causes, and more.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
Exercises that help.
heart healthy living
Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
Compressed heart
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
Heart Foods Slideshow
Low Blood Pressure

WebMD Special Sections