The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of systemic arterial hypertension in the adult urban population of Tubarão, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The cross-sectional approach used a stratified sample, based on an initial list of electric power connections, resulting in the selection of 707 individuals over 18 years of age. A questionnaire was applied and arterial blood pressure was measured twice by medical students during home visits, using a mercury sphygmomanometer. The prevalence of arterial hypertension based on the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (arterial pressure > 140 x 90 mmHg) was 36.4%, increasing to 40.5% when including individuals on anti-hypertensive medication. Of the patients with high blood pressure, 55.6% were aware of their hypertension, 46.8% were on medication, and 10.1% had their blood pressure under control. The high estimated prevalence of hypertension, low level of unawareness, and less than ideal treatment and control levels emphasize the need for preventive measures in Tubarão.