High blood pressure is a significant public health problem in the African-American community, particularly among men. With funding from the Baltimore City Health Department, UMMC has launched a citywide initiative called the Maryland Healthy Men Project to help African-American men with undiagnosed hypertension get their blood pressure under control and learn how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

UMMC is partnering with Union Baptist Church, the American Heart Association, the Center for Urban Families, Shoppers Food Warehouse, Chase Brexton Health Care and other nonprofit organizations to offer free blood-pressure screenings at churches, grocery stores, senior centers and other locations throughout the city. The citywide program is part of UMMC's ongoing efforts to improve community health and offer preventive health care that will not only help to keep people out of the hospital, but also reduce health care costs.

More than 40 percent of African-American adults have high blood pressure, which is defined as a reading of 140/90 or higher. Ideally, blood pressure should be 120/80 or lower. Dubbed the "silent killer" because it often has no symptoms, hypertension can increase the risk of stroke, kidney disease, heart attack or other cardiovascular complications. Those who are diagnosed with hypertension are referred to an affordable health care provider, who will determine whether they need medicine or other treatments to lower their blood pressure.

Take steps to reduce your blood pressure.

If you have questions about high blood pressure, or want more information on how to control it, email us at healthypressure@umm.edu

Know Your Numbers, and Make Control Your Goal

About one in three American adults has high blood pressure. The University of Maryland Medical Center is working with community partners to reduce this rate and to educate people in the Baltimore area on how to prevent or control high blood pressure.

Why Is This So Significant?

High blood pressure is called the "silent killer." You usually don't feel any differently when you have high blood pressure. It can cause damage to your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and eyes, and you won't even know it.

Take steps now to know your blood pressure numbers and get your blood pressure under control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • High blood pressure contributes to 1,000 deaths a day in the U.S.
  • People with high blood pressure are 4x more likely to die from a stroke, and 3x more likely to die from heart disease.
  • 69% of people who have a first heart attack have high blood pressure
  • 77% of people who have a first stroke have high blood pressure
  • Only 47% of people with high blood pressure have it under control
  • African-Americans develop high blood pressure more often, and at an earlier age, than others

Do you know where you stand?

If not, get your blood pressure checked, and do so regularly.

The good news is that you can take the following steps to lower and maintain a healthy blood pressure:

  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly
  • See a doctor if your blood pressure is high, and take any medicine like the doctor tells you
  • Get regular exercise
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit salt intake
  • Don't smoke, and stop smoking if you do
  • Maintain a healthy weight

High Blood Pressure Resources