Updated May 22, 2017
Health briefs offer quick but comprehensive information about some of the biggest health challenges Tennessee is facing.
Scroll down to read all about hypertension in our state or jump to a specific section:
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is called “the silent killer” because it often has no symptoms.38.5% of Tennessee adults have high blood pressure, which is higher than the U.S. average of to 33%. Hypertension is the direct or contributing cause of 1,100 deaths each day in the U.S.
What is hypertension?
High blood pressure can damage the arteries that restrict blood flow, leading to heart disease or other problems.
What do blood pressure numbers mean?
- Systolic pressure (the top number) measures the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
- Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) measures the pressure of blood flow between beats, when the heart is at rest.
Both numbers are measured to determine blood pressure.
- 119/79 or lower is considered normal blood pressure
- 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure
A person is considered to be at-risk for hypertension if:
- Their systolic pressure is 120–139, or
- Their diastolic pressure is 80–89.
How common is high blood pressure?
In the U.S.33.5% of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. That’s 1 in 3 Americans, or 85 million people.
- 38.5% of adults in Tennessee have high blood pressure.
- More than 50% of adults 65+ in Tennessee have high blood pressure.
- By 2030, Tennessee is projected to have 1,714,690 cases of hypertension.
What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?
- Family history of hypertension
- Being African-American
- High sodium diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive drinking of alcohol
- 24% of adults smoke
- 37% don’t exercise
- 68% are overweight or obese
- 13% have diabetes
- 3% drink heavily (2+ alcoholic drinks/day) and nearly 10% binge drink (5+ drinks on one occasion)
How can you prevent and/or manage high blood pressure?
- Know your risk (check it here)
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Engage in regular physical activity
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol beverages
How is BlueCross addressing hypertension?
- Awarded Healthier Tennessee a $3 million grant to encourage healthier diets, more physical activity and smoking cessation across the state.
- Granted $70,000 to Northside Neighborhood House to hold weekly cooking classes focused on creating nutritious meals on a budget.
- Gave $317,000 to fund the Journey to Health program at Nashville’s Faith Family Medical Center.
- Invested more than $1.7 million to transform outside spaces into areas where people can get fit, including Fitness Zones, RiverFit and more.
- Awarded $1.6 million to expand the Greater Kingsport Family Y.