(RxWiki News) High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and, despite improvements in treating this condition, it still remains a large problem among some groups.
A recent report found that high blood pressure (hypertension) was most likely to occur in older individuals and minority groups, especially African Americans.
The researchers found, however, that older adults were more likely to be aware that they had hypertension, to be taking medication for it and to have their blood pressure under control when compared to younger adults.
"Get your blood pressure checked regularly."
This report was led by Tatiana Nwankwo, MS, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The research team examined the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of high blood pressure in a national sample from 2011-2012.
Data was analyzed from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The researchers found that about 29 percent of adults had hypertension. There was no significant difference seen in the percentage of men versus women with hypertension.
Of the adults with hypertension, about 83 percent were aware of their condition, about 76 percent reported that they were taking medication to lower their blood pressure, and about 52 percent had their blood pressure under control.
Age was found to be a significant risk factor for hypertension, with the percentage of adults with hypertension increasing as age increased. About 7 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 39 had hypertension, which increased to about 32 percent for adults between the ages of 40-59 and finally to 65 percent for adults aged 60 and over.
While older adults were found to be more likely to have hypertension, they were also more likely to be aware of this condition, to be taking medication for it and to have it under control.
By racial groups, African Americans had the highest prevalence of hypertension. About 42 percent of African American adults had hypertension compared to 28 percent of white adults, and about 25 percent of Asian adults. Despite this difference in prevalence, African American adults were similar to white and Hispanic adults in their awareness, treatment and control of their high blood pressure.
Although Asian American adults had the lowest prevalence of hypertension, they were the least likely to be aware that they had hypertension compared to all other racial groups.
The researchers found that gender may also impact hypertension management. While men and women were equally likely to be aware of their hypertension, women were more likely to be taking medication for it and to have it under control.
The researchers also compared the findings from the 2011-2012 NHANES survey to the findings from the 2009-2010 NHANES survey. They found no significant differences in the percentage of people who were aware that they had hypertension, who were treating it with prescribed medications and who had it under control.
The authors of this study concluded that while many people with hypertension seem to be treating their hypertension, more work is needed to get this blood pressure under control for hypertensive patients.
This report was published on October 31 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.