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What is It?

High blood pressure also known as hypertension is generally defined as two separate readings of a systolic pressure of ≥140 mmHg and a diastolic pressure of ≥90 mmHg by a physician or other healthcare provider2. The target blood pressure for those with hypertension is typically 140/90 mmHg, depending on age and selected health conditions.
**Click here to understand what your numbers mean

Why is it important?

High blood pressure or hypertension is considered a “silent killer.” This is because there are no obvious signs or symptoms.  Throughout the day, blood pressure increases and decreases, but when it stays high for a very long time - it can be problematic. High blood pressure increases the mortality risks of diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

If high blood pressure is left undetected or uncontrolled it can lead to the following1:

Chest pain or angina Peripheral artery disease
Stroke Heart attack
Kidney disease Heart failure
Sexual dysfunction Vision loss


There is no “cure” for hypertension, although, it can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medications.

Lifestyle changes recommended by the American Heart Association for lowering blood pressure include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Strive for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
  • Eat healthier. Try to eat more fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy, as well as less saturated and total fat.
  • Reduce sodium. Stay under 1,500 mg a day, which could assist in lowering your blood pressure.
  • Get active. Aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 3-4 times per week.
  • Limit alcohol. Women should have no more than 1 (one) drink daily and men should have no more than 2 (two) drinks daily.

Other recommendations include:

  • Take medication(s) as prescribed by physician
  • Self-monitor blood pressure

Hypertension Prevention and Management Initiatives in Ohio

  • Medication Therapy Management: In partnership with Ohio’s seven colleges of pharmacy, ODH assists federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and community pharmacies in utilizing clinical pharmacists to effectively manage patients with uncontrolled hypertension and/or diabetes.
  • FQHC Partnership: Through collaboration with physicians, ODH developed several tools for both physicians and patients to better manage hypertension, especially among populations with a high burden of disease.
  • Chronic Disease Management Quality Improvement: Fostering team-based care in family physician practices, this project uses quality improvement processes to implement changes that will help the practice better manage their patients with chronic diseases. These processes include optimal utilization of electronic health records, team work flow changes and others.
  • Communities Preventing Chronic Disease: ODH funds six counties in Ohio with a high burden of chronic disease, called Communities Preventing Chronic Disease, to implement evidence-based primary and secondary prevention strategies in low income communities. These strategies include improving access to healthy foods, increasing opportunities for physical activity, worksite wellness, lifestyle change programs, health systems interventions and community-clinical linkages.
  • Creating Healthy Communities (CHC): In 23 counties in Ohio, CHC focuses on increasing access to physical activity opportunities, increasing access to healthy, affordable food and tobacco-free living. CHC impacts the places where Ohioans live, learn, work and play to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic disease in Ohio.


NEW! Hypertension Brief

Additional Tools:

Watch this video and learn how to control high blood pressure (Episode 2)

Blood Pressure Classification Chart

Track your blood pressure here.


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Last Updated: 3/14/2017