09/06/2010 - News

Status Report: Blood Pressure Control in the United States

By: June Chen, MD

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Treatment and control of high blood pressure reduces cardiovascular risk. Healthy People 2010 is a national initiative with the goal of achieving blood pressure control in 50% of the U.S. population. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in the year 2007-2008, blood pressure was adequately controlled in an estimated 50.1% of people in the United States with high blood pressure.

Researchers from Medical University of South Carolina assessed the progress in treating and controlling high blood pressure in the United States from 1988 to 2008 using information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which included 42,856 adults over the age of 18. They found that the rates of high blood pressure increased from 23.9% in the period from 1988-1994 to 28.5% in the period from 1999-2000, but were stable until 2007-2008. Blood pressure control increased from 27.3% in 1998-1994 to 50.1% in 2007-2008. These improvements in blood pressure control reflected increased awareness and treatment.

Interestingly, blood pressure control was significantly lower among younger adults than it was among middle-aged and older adults. It was also significantly lower among Hispanics than whites. High blood pressure currently affects approximately 65 million Americans, so initiatives like Healthy People 2010 are critical for raising awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure, as well as the availability of effective lifestyle interventions and medications for the blood pressure control.

Source: JAMA. 2010; 303(20): 2043-2050.

Created on: 06/01/2010
Reviewed on: 09/06/2010

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