Health Department Launches “1 in 4” Media Campaign on Dangers of High Blood Pressure

Over 1 in 4 New Yorkers has high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke

Black and Latino New Yorkers are more likely to have high blood pressure than their White and Asian/Pacific Islander counterparts

May 31, 2017 – As part of National High Blood Pressure Education Month and National Stroke Awareness Month, the Health Department today announced a new media campaign “1 in 4,” urging all New Yorkers to check their blood pressure at their doctor’s office or neighborhood pharmacy. More than one in four New Yorkers have high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, which together account for 22 percent of premature deaths in New York City. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a controllable condition, but it often has no symptoms. In 2014, there were almost 8,000 hospitalizations for high blood pressure in New York City, many of which were preventable. As part of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan and Take Care New York 2020, the Health Department is convening key stakeholders and developing a citywide plan to reduce hypertension, a leading contributor to premature mortality.

Blood Pressure “High blood pressure is a leading risk factor of heart attack and stroke – New York City's top killers,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “And there are still too many people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure – either because they don't know they have it or because they are not adequately treated. Getting your blood pressure checked and quitting smoking are two of the most important things you can do to prevent premature death.”

The campaign will appear in bus shelters and subways and on television across the city and will reach neighborhoods disproportionately affected by high blood pressure. In 2015, the prevalence of high blood pressure in Black adults was 1.5 times that of White adults and 1.6 times that of Asian/Pacific Islanders. High blood pressure prevalence in Latino adults was 1.4 times that of White adults and 1.5 that of Asian/Pacific Islanders. Among adults living in very high poverty neighborhoods, high blood pressure prevalence was 1.4 times that of those living in low poverty neighborhoods. This disparity was also seen with hospitalizations – very high poverty neighborhoods had hospitalization rates, for high blood pressure, that were 3.5 times that of low poverty neighborhoods.

“Patients sometimes think that because they feel fine, they don’t need to worry about their blood pressure. That’s not true,” said Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Sonia Angell. “High blood pressure is called the ‘silent killer,’ because people generally have no symptoms – that is, until a heart attack or stroke strikes. Don’t let that be you. Get your blood pressure checked today, and if your pressure is up, work with your doctor to get it down.”

“You can’t talk about population health without a significant focus on improving blood pressure control, which starts with screening,” said Dave Chokshi, MD, Chief Population Health Officer at OneCity Health, a subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals focused on population health, care management, and implementation of the State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program. “Our efforts at NYC Health + Hospitals have begun to show results, and we expect further improvement is achievable. To help us get there, we welcome this important effort to remind New Yorkers to have their blood pressure checked.”

Getting your blood pressure checked is the first step to know if you have high blood pressure, and if you do have it, to be sure the condition is under control. To reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and its complications, New Yorkers should:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet low in sodium.
  • Be physically active.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take medicine as directed if prescribed by your doctor.

“Our bodies are our temples, and we must do all that we can to take care of them,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I applaud the NYC Health Department’s ad campaign for raising awareness of getting regular blood pressure testing. Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in this country, but it can be prevented by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, moderate exercise, and getting that regular check-up. I urge all Brooklynites to take control of their health – don’t wait until it’s too late. Get tested!”

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, said, “High blood pressure is one of the most easily diagnosed and treatable conditions – but far too many New Yorkers have hypertension and don’t even know it, particularly in underserved communities.  By focusing public attention on this ‘silent killer,’ the Health Department is helping to improve New Yorkers’ health and save lives.”

"The new "1 in 4" campaign represents another significant step in our City's efforts to improve the health of our residents by encouraging them to properly monitor and control their blood pressure," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I applaud our City's Department of Health for raising further awareness of a disease that continues to have serious health implications among New Yorkers, especially in minority communities."

“High blood pressure can kill,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “All New Yorkers should have their blood pressure checked regularly, especially seniors and those at risk with poor health. Throughout my legislative career, I have made healthy eating and good health a priority. Please visit one of my Brooklyn health fairs for a checkup or call 311 for another location near your home. Your good health can’t wait." 

“It's incredibly important to know your blood pressure,” said Ron DelGaudio, RPh., President and CEO of Kings Specialty Pharmacy. “Many pharmacists are willing and able to help take your blood pressure and talk with you about the importance of prevention and control. As a pharmacist, I know high blood pressure is a huge problem in my community, and I can be a part of a patient's journey to understanding blood pressure and improving their health. I commend the Health Department for raising awareness of this important issue in our communities."

“It is an affirmation of the greatest gift we are given, life, to know about and reduce the risk factors that cause high blood pressure,” said Bob Kaplan, Director of The Center for Community Leadership at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “Likewise, it's imperative to follow the treatment plan once one has been diagnosed with this life threatening condition.”

If you have high blood pressure, monitor your blood pressure at home or at your neighborhood pharmacy. For more information on where to go to get your blood pressure checked or if you would like assistance in getting checked, call 311, talk to your doctor, or search “high blood pressure” on nyc.gov/health. If you have a question about signing up for low- or no-cost health insurance, the City provides free enrollment assistance in person at its Health Centers in all five boroughs. New Yorkers can also call 311 or text CoveredNYC or SeguroNYC to 877877 for information.

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CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle (347) 396-4177
pressoffice@health.nyc.gov