U.S. Cities With the Highest Rates of HypertensionReynaldo Villar | 09.09.2021
In the last months of his tenure, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a call to action against the nation’s most prevalent and treatable chronic health condition.
Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension has become an all too common health condition in the United States and around the globe. What percentage of Americans have high blood pressure? An estimated 45% of Americans have been diagnosed with this condition.
And while some people with high blood pressure may not experience many adverse symptoms at first, hypertension can lead to more serious illnesses if left untreated. Uncontrolled hypertension often contribute or lead to complications such as increased risk of…
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Maternal mortality
- Kidney disease
- Eye damage and vision loss
- Changes to cholesterol and insulin levels that could lead to diabetes
- Trouble with memory and brain functions
The tragedy of hypertension is that it is largely controllable, through both diet, activity and medication. But it hasn’t been controlled: less than half of American adults with hypertension regularly manage or control their chronic high blood pressure.
The team at HealthChampion analyzed hypertension statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine which U.S. cities have the highest rates of high blood pressure among its residents.
Cities That Have the Highest Rates of Hypertension
These are the cities in the United States with the highest rates of hypertension:
- Gary, IN: 52.0%
- Detroit, MI: 47.2%
- Flint, MI: 45.9%
- Birmingham, AL: 44.2%
- Charleston, WV: 43.8%
- Youngstown, OH: 43.5%
- Jackson, MS: 43.3%
- Mobile, AL: 43.3%
- Shreveport, LA: 43.2%
- Lake Charles, LA: 42.1%
- Montgomery, AL: 41.8%
- Lauderhill, FL: 41.7%
- Macon, GA: 41.6%
- Albany, GA: 41.3%
- Beaumont, TX: 41.1%
- Cleveland, OH: 41.1%
- Memphis, TN: 40.5%
- Baton Rouge, LA: 40.2%
- New Orleans, LA: 40.0%
- Camden, NJ: 39.9%
- Chattanooga, TN: 39.9%
- Southfield, MI: 39.8%
- Wilmington, DE: 39.8%
- Gulfport, MS: 39.6%
- Kansas City, KS: 39.4%
- Louisville, KY: 39.4%
Located in northwest Indiana shores of Lake Michigan, Gary (Indiana) was once a huge steel producer and industrial hub. It has become one of the hardest hit “Rust Belt” communities, and it tops the list of communities with high prevalence of chronic hypertension, with 52% of its adults suffering from high blood pressure.
The prevalence of hypertension is particularly high in the South and Midwest. Of the top 50 cities with the highest hypertension rates in America, eight are located in Florida, five are in Louisiana, five are in Ohio, four are in Alabama, and four are in Georgia. Noticeably absent from the list of top cities are cities on the West Coast.
The only West Cost city that appears in the top 50 for hypertension is Hemet, CA, which comes in at number 46.
What Causes Hypertension?
The narrower your arteries are and the harder your blood pumps, the higher your blood pressure will be. There are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary. For many adults with primary hypertension, there is no identifiable cause. It gradually develops over a number of years, and some may have high blood pressure with few health problems.
Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure caused by another underlying chronic condition or disease. Secondary hypertension typically causes higher blood pressure than primary hypertension and comes on suddenly. It can be caused by a variety of conditions, like kidney disease, thyroid problems, birth control medications, congenital birth defects, and sleep apnea.
There is also a link between obesity and hypertension. While not every person who is obese has hypertension, excessive weight gain accounts for 65% to 75% of the risk of primary hypertension. This makes it one of the leading factors influencing the prevalence of hypertension in the U.S.
How to Prevent High Blood Pressure
In order to prevent hypertension, adults should maintain a healthy lifestyle full of physical activity and healthy eating. According to the CDC, these steps will help lower individuals’ risk of developing high blood pressure:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stay physically active.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid smoking.
- Limit alcohol consumption
How to Treat and Manage High Blood Pressure
If you suspect you may be hypertensive (and even if you don’t), the first step is to get a regular checkup with your primary physician. Healthcare providers are trained to look for high blood pressure, which is why most visits to your doctor, urgent care or emergency care begins with a check of your blood pressure readings.
If you are diagnosed with chronic hypertension, your healthcare provider will typically prescribe a combination of resources to help you understand and control your blood pressure:
Lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on alcoholic drinks and kicking your smoking habit altogether
- Change in diet to lose excess weight
- More exercise and physical activity
- Educational information about hypertension
- Hypertension management apps or resources
- Medications such as ACE inhibitors or Beta-blockers
- Regular blood pressure checks
- More regular checkups with your healthcare provider
The bottom line is that hypertension can be controlled and managed in the vast majority of cases. Education, guidance and a commitment to better health is needed to get our communities back on the road to better health.