Its been a while since our last medical spotlight but to sets jump right in where we left off. I do have my powerpoint slides that I am giving to you because it goes into a bit more detail than I wanted to go with the blog today. Just click on any of the pictures that are on here.

Medical Spotlight: Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)


  • Defined as the force and rate of heartbeat and diameter and elasticity of the arterial walls (I’ll discuss later why that portion is important)
  • Classification
  • Normal: systolic lower than 120 mm Hg, diastolic lower than 80 mm Hg
  • Prehypertension: systolic 120-139 mm Hg, diastolic 80-89 mm Hg
  • Stage 1: systolic 140-159 mm Hg, diastolic 90-99 mm Hg
  • Stage 2: systolic 160 mm Hg or greater, diastolic 100 mm Hg or greater

Hypertension by the numbers

  • 1 out of 3 adults have high blood pressure here in America accounting for 78 million or roughly 30%of the population
  • Of those DIAGNOSED with hypertension approximately half are actually controlled
  • 1 out of 3 adults have also been classified as prehypertensive as well
  • Cost of hypertension
  • $46 billion annually
  • Prevelance increases as we get older


  • Now this isn’t figures that should surprise us because as we noted earlier that your blood pressure is partly defined by the elasticity of your arteries and we know that the older we get the less elastic are arteries become
  • Significant difference in race as more blacks are affected by hypertension than any other race

  • This graph likely deserves a post on its own but a key concern is that not only are blacks diagnosed earlier with hypertension they are still less likely to be controlled all the same.
  • Big difference between those who know they have hypertension, those who are treated for hypertension and those who actually have it controlled


  • A fact that I try to impress on my physician colleagues is that just knowing our patients have hypertension is only part of the battle – The real fight is one when you convert that patient who has hypertension to someone who is controlled.

As a primary care physician I am on the front lines in regards to high blood pressure, any Internists/Family Physician should be the main caretaker regarding blood pressure control especially in the beginning of the treatment course. Now thats not to say we don’t get help from our other specialities including cardiology (heart) and nephrology ( kidney) but they should never be your first call unless the reason why the patient has high blood pressure is a cause of it.
Also unfortunate is that these numbers only show the affects hypertension has had on the United States and I can assure you the numbers are any better in the rest of the world.
Global Phenomenon

  • Nearly one billion people diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Two-thirds in developing countries.
  • Most important causes of premature death worldwide
  • Leading cause of Cardiovascular Disease worldwide

Causes of hypertension are numerous primary (environmental or genetic) or secondary (vascular, renal or endocrinological causes)  as well as its treatment regimens. They all have to be tailored to the specific patient population.
Again I am giving out my Power Point Slides so you can read further more on the complications of hypertension, treatment regimens and get today’s post in a less wordy format.

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