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What do St. Louisans know about their blood pressure?

For World Hypertension Day, we surveyed adult residents of St. Louis and four other states (CO, MD, NE, and TX) to see what they know about blood pressure.

Do Americans monitor their blood pressure?

Of 587 respondents, two-thirds (68%) reported having their blood pressure checked by a health professional in the last 12 months. Older adults (60+) were more likely than those under age 60 to have had it checked (90% vs 65%), as were females compared to males (75% vs 57%).

Respondents in Texas were most likely to report getting their blood pressure checked in the last year (92%), followed by St. Louis (84%), Omaha (79%), Colorado (71%) and Baltimore (38%).

Adults 40 and older should be screened for high blood pressure every year.

Do Americans know what their blood pressure numbers should be?

Over half of respondents (55%) reported knowing what their blood pressure numbers should be; 25% did not know, and 20% weren’t sure. Hispanic respondents were more likely than non-Hispanics to report not knowing what their blood pressure numbers should be (35% vs. 22%).

In St. Louis, 60% reported knowing the numbers; 22% did not know, and 18% weren’t sure.

According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading should be less than 120/80. The first number is systolic blood pressure (the pressure of your blood against artery walls when your heart beats) and the second number is diastolic blood pressure (the pressure of your blood against artery walls when the heart rests between beats).

Sixty-one percent of respondents knew what systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers meant. Black respondents were more likely than whites to know the meaning (68% vs 58%), as were men vs. women (68% vs. 57%). Respondents who reported knowing what their blood pressure numbers should be (n=319) were asked to provide the specific numbers. The average response was 124/81, indicating a high level of accurate knowledge.

Help build blood pressure awareness in St. Louis

Community organizations in St. Louis can share the resources below to build public knowledge about hypertension and encourage regular blood pressure monitoring.

Survey information

This week’s report is based on responses from a panel of adult residents of St. Louis, MO (n = 152), Baltimore, MD (n = 175), Omaha, NE (n = 89), Colorado (n = 99) and Texas (n = 71) surveyed May 18-20, 2024. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

Download the graphics below to share about this topic.

Suggested Caption:

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to serious health problems. Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to know if you have it.

#iHeardSTL #HeartHealth #KnowYourNumbers

Suggested Caption:

Take control of your health one heartbeat at a time! High blood pressure doesn’t stand a chance when you’re armed with knowledge and healthy habits.

#iHeardSTL #PreventHBP #HeartHealth

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