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PHOM Indicator Report of Blood Pressure: Doctor-diagnosed Hypertension

Why Is This Important?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is an important risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It is preventable, and in most cases it can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and tobacco cessation. Treatment works best when high blood pressure is identified early. Because high blood pressure does not produce symptoms, regular screening is recommended.

Doctor-diagnosed Hypertension by Ethnicity, Utah, 2009 and 2011

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Nationally, some studies suggest that Hispanic Americans may have similar high blood pressure rates as Whites. However, there is some variation in blood pressure prevalence among Hispanics of different racial groups: Black Hispanics may have a slightly greater risk of high blood pressure than White Hispanics, although education and income may modify this difference (American Heart Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update, 2009).

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

Data Notes

Doctor-diagnosed hypertension is based on the answer to the question: "Have you ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that you have high blood pressure?" Those with hypertension only during pregnancy are excluded from the denominator.   This graph is based on the new methodology. Data are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. population for combined years 2009 and 2011.

Risk Factors

Some risk factors for high blood pressure can be reduced through lifestyle changes. These include exercise, reducing excess weight, tobacco cessation, and low-sodium diet. The Institute of Medicine also recommends increasing dietary potassium, which can be achieved by eating more fruits and vegetables. Some risk factors are more difficult to control, such as family history and genetics. Certain medications can affect blood pressure as well. Individuals are encouraged to discuss their risk factors with a physician and monitor their blood pressure regularly.

How Are We Doing?

The proportion of Utah adults who reported being told they had high blood pressure has remained relatively constant over the past decade. In 2012, 24.5 percent of Utah adults (approximately 1 in 4) reported being told they had high blood pressure. This is slightly below the U.S. Healthy People 2020 target of 26.9 percent. Utah's state 2020 target is 22.8 percent.

The percentage of adults who reported being told they had high blood pressure was much lower for women than men in every age group except 65+. In this age group, the rate of high blood pressure was 56.8 percent among men and 57.0 percent among women in 2012.

Doctor-diagnosed high blood pressure varied considerably among income categories. Those with annual household incomes above $75,000 had a rate nearly 10 percentage points below those with household incomes below $25,000 in 2011-2012.

Doctor-diagnosed high blood pressure did not vary much by educational level among those with less than a college degree in 2011-2012. However, the rate was 23.1 percent among college graduates, nearly 5 percentage points below those with some college.

What Is Being Done?

The Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program works with health care organizations, such as health plans and community health centers, to improve quality of care for cardiovascular conditions and control risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Healthy People Objective HDS-5.1:

Reduce the proportion of adults with hypertension
U.S. Target: 26.9 percent
State Target: 22.8 percent

Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 10/23/2013

Other Views

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Fri, 21 November 2014 11:50:21 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:09:25 MST