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Report Finds Control of High Blood Pressure Improving
Date:5/25/2010

But bad news is the prevalence of hypertension in U.S. not decreasing

TUESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- While the number of Americans with high blood pressure has not declined in recent years, researchers report that the good news is that more people with the condition have it under control.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems; it was considered such an important health issue that achieving a 50 percent control rate was made an official Healthy People 2010 goal.

That goal has been achieved, said Dr. Brent M. Egan, a professor of medicine and pharmacology at the Medical University of South Carolina and lead author of the report in the May 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. That report used data from a series of national health surveys running from 1988 to 2008.

"The good news is that blood pressure control has improved very substantially over the years," Egan said. "It went from 27 percent of all hypertensives to 50 percent, with most of the progress since 2000. Awareness of high blood pressure improved from 69 to 81 percent, and the number of hypertensives on treatment improved from 54 percent to 72 percent."

The bad news is that the number of Americans with high blood pressure has not gone down. "We're doing a lousy job of trying to prevent it," Egan said. An estimated 65 million Americans, about 29 percent of the population, now have high blood pressure, a far cry from the national goal of 16 percent.

The study defined high blood pressure as a reading of 140/90 or higher, self-reported use of blood pressure medications, or both. Control was defined as getting the reading below 140/90.

A breakdown by different groups shows that efforts at improving awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure and measures to control it must be carefully targeted, Egan s
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