Patient getting blood pressure measured with digital machine. Blood pressure digital and cuff on the desk.
Media Availability

NHLBI researchers available to discuss the latest science on hypertension

WHAT: Hypertension—a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States—will take centerstage during Hypertension Awareness Month in May and World Hypertension Day on Thursday, May 17. Experts at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where hypertension research has long been a top priority, are available to discuss the latest science on the treatment, risk factors, genetics, and lifestyle changes associated with this chronic condition.    

NHLBI researchers are available for interviews on the findings and implications of the following studies:

Sex, age, race, and awareness differences associated with hypertension

Sex differences in the prevalence of hypertension, as well as in patient blood pressure levels, are well known. But why these differences exist is still poorly understood. As a study in JAMA Cardiology shows, sex and race-related disparities in hypertension tend to emerge early in life. Another study in the same journal reported that blood pressure levels regularly exceeding 120-125 mmHg at any age could signal impending hypertension. Genetics play a role, too: A new NHLBI-funded study, reported in The American Journal of Human Genetics, has identified dozens of new genetic variations that affect blood pressure, using the technique known as genes -environment interaction analysis. What the public knows about hypertension can vary greatly. Among U.S. young adults, awareness about cardiovascular risk factors, and hypertension in particular, remains less than ideal, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

WHO: David Goff, M.D., Director, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS), NHLBI, NIH

STUDY: Trends in NHLBI-Funded Research on Sex Differences in Hypertension

STUDY: Heterogeneity in Blood Pressure Transitions Over the Life Course. Age-Specific Emergence of Racial/Ethnic and Sex Disparities in the United States

STUDY: Trajectories of Blood Pressure Elevation Preceding Hypertension Onset

An Analysis of the Framingham Heart Study Original Cohort

STUDY: Awareness of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in U.S. Young Adults Aged 18-39 Years

STUDY: A Large-Scale Multi-ancestry Genome-wide Study Accounting for Smoking Behavior Identifies Multiple Significant Loci for Blood Pressure

Enlisting barbers to help reduce blood pressure in black men; and other approaches

In an NHLBI-funded study, researchers paired African-American-owned barbershops with local pharmacists, who monitored the blood pressure of black male patrons and offered advice, treatment, and follow up with those found to have hypertension. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed a significant drop in blood pressure among the participants in the intervention group.. In Ghana, a study by NHLBI-funded researchers found that providing health insurance coverage in conjunction with a comprehensive, 12-month, nurse-led intervention, was linked to a greater reduction of blood pressure among patients with uncontrolled hypertension than health insurance alone. Finally, according to an NHLBI-funded study published in Hypertension, older adults who took a novel antioxidant that specifically targeted cellular powerhouses, or mitochondria, saw age-related vascular changes reversed by the equivalent of 15 to 20 years within six weeks.

WHO: George Mensah, M.D., Director, Center for Translation Research & Implementation Science, NHLBI, NIH

STUDY: A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Blood-Pressure Reduction in Black Barbershops

STUDY: Health insurance coverage with or without a nurse-led task shifting strategy for hypertension control: A pragmatic cluster randomized trial in Ghana

STUDY: Chronic Supplementation With a Mitochondrial Antioxidant (MitoQ) Improves Vascular Function in Healthy Older Adults 

Diet and blood pressure

An NHLBI-funded study published in the journal Hypertension suggested that a healthy diet may not offset the negative effects of high salt intake on blood pressure. And salt intake among Americans remains high, despite a decades-long effort to encourage a reduction. A study in JAMA found that the average American adult consumes 3,608 milligrams (mg) a day—more than 1,300 mg higher than the maximum amount experts generally recommend a person takes to lower the risks of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. But there are steps that can help: A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology provides further evidence that combining a low-salt diet with the NHLBI-developed DASH diet substantially lowers systolic blood pressure—the top number in a blood pressure test—especially in people with higher baseline systolic readings.

WHO: David Goff, M.D., Director, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS), NHLBI, NIH

STUDY: Relation of Dietary Sodium (Salt) to Blood Pressure and Its Possible Modulation by Other Dietary Factors

STUDY: Estimated 24-Hour Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion in US Adults 

STUDY: Effects of Sodium Reduction and the DASH Diet in Relation to Baseline Blood Pressure


Ask for press officer on duty