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Percentage of U.S. Adults With Hypertension Holds Steady at 30%

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Although many Americans are aware of the dangers associated with high blood pressure and many are controlling the condition, the prevalence of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, hasn't changed in a decade, health officials report.

According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of American adults suffer from hypertension.

"Overall, the prevalence of high blood pressure hasn't changed over the last 10 years," said lead author Sarah Yoon, an epidemiologist at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

In fact, the prevalence of hypertension did not change significantly, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex or age, she noted.

"However, there have been significant increases in high blood pressure awareness, treatment and control among people with high blood pressure over the same time period," Yoon added.

Part of the reason that treatment and awareness of hypertension has increased while the prevalence of the condition remains stagnant is the ongoing obesity epidemic and the aging population, both of which tend to produce more hypertensives, Yoon explained.

So, more people become hypertensive even as more people keep their blood pressure controlled, she explained.

Highlights of the report include:

  • No change in the prevalence of high blood pressure among U.S. adults, including whites, blacks, and Mexican Americans.
  • More blacks have high blood pressure than whites or Mexican Americans.
  • Among those with high blood pressure, the percentage who were aware of their condition increased from 69.6 percent in 1999-2000 to 80.6 percent in 2007-2008.
  • The percentage of those with hypertension treated with drugs increased from 60.2 percent in 1999-2000 to 73.7 percent in 2007-2008.
  • The percentage of adults who control their blood pressure increased from 30.3 percent in 1999-2000 to 48.4 percent in 2007-2008.

These data were gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Commenting on the report, Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "high blood pressure represents a major modifiable cause of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and premature death in the United States."

This new data from the CDC shows that, due to collective efforts, significant progress has been made in the awareness, treatment and control of hypertension, he said.

"After decades of very little progress, the percent of adults with high blood pressure who have their high blood pressure controlled increased substantially," Fonarow said.

"Nevertheless, with slightly over 50 percent of adults with high blood pressure still having not achieved adequate control of their blood pressure, much work remains to fully implement effective cardiovascular preventive measures nationwide," he added.

More information

For more information on high blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association.

SOURCES: Sarah Yoon, Ph.D., epidemiologist, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Gregg Fonarow, M.D., American Heart Association spokesman and professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; Oct. 27, 2010, CDC report, Recent Trends in the Prevalence of High Blood Pressure and its Treatment and Control, 1999-2008

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