May is National High Blood Pressure Month. In a nation overly accustomed to "diseases of the month," this event is not remarkable. What is remarkable is that May is the fifth High Blood Pressure Month and that in the short history of these months, the United States has accomplished an unprecedented near revolution in its approach to control of this major contributor to cardiovascular disease.
Much has been learned during this revolution, not the least of which is that having a month can be far more than an idle gesture if it is executed within a well-planned public health effort. Such an effort does exist. It is the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, initiated in 1972 and coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.1,2 It is succeeding, although it is not yet totally successful.
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program, when initiated in 1972, faced