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Death Rates Among People With High Blood Pressure Falling
Date:4/26/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although the death rate among Americans with high blood pressure, or hypertension, has fallen since the 1970s, it still far exceeds the death rate for those with normal blood pressure, new research finds.

U.S. researchers looked at data on about 23,000 adults aged 25 to 74 from two national health surveys: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) I, which recruited participants between 1971 and 1975; and NHANES III, which enrolled adults between 1988 and 1994.

Death rates among those with high blood pressure fell between the two time periods, from 18.8 per 1,000 person-years to 14.3 per 1,000 person-years. But the death rate for people with hypertension was 42 percent higher than for those without hypertension in the earlier period and 57 percent higher than for those with healthy blood pressure in the later survey.

The study is published in the April 26 issue of Circulation.

"The whole population has been benefiting from longer life expectancy," said Dr. Earl Ford, study author and medical officer with the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The drop was greater among people without hypertension than for those with hypertension."

Researchers are concerned that while death rates improved for the general population, people with high blood pressure benefited less than the rest of the population.

For example, death rates for diseases of the circulatory system fell about 46 percent for those without hypertension but only 37 percent for those with hypertension. Stroke deaths dropped 51 percent for those without hypertension and just 39 percent for those with hypertension, while deaths from heart disease declined 46 percent for those without hypertension and 35 percent for those with hypertension.

Though men with hypertension were more likely to
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