Living Longer, but Not Healthier

Considerably more Mexican-Americans in U.S. have hypertension than a decade ago

(RxWiki News) Researchers have found an increase over the past 10 years in hypertension among older Mexican-Americans living in the Southwest region of the United States.

Researchers speculate part of the cause in blood pressure increases could be an increase in diabetes and obesity.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most common diseases in the United States, affecting some 72 million Americans. It is also one of the most manageable precursors to cardiovascular disease thanks to advances in diagnostics, treatment and control, which have resulted in far fewer events of cardiovascular mortality in recent decades.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston looked at hypertension prevalence among 3,952 older Mexican-Americans throughout Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and California. Comparing statistics from 1993-1994 to 2004-2005, instances of hypertension spiked from 73 percent to 78.4 percent, a figure that proved especially significant among subjects 75 to 79 years old. This hypertension spike also appeared among U.S.-born participants and for those with diabetes and those who are obese.

Hypertension is marked by consistent measurements reading 140 mm Hg or higher for systolic blood pressure (top reading) and 90 mm Hg or higher for diastolic blood pressure (lower reading).

It is estimated that more 120 million Hispanics will live in the United States by 2050, a population characterized as "long-living with increasing rates of disability, diabetes and chronic diseases," according to Kyriakos S. Markides, co-author and principal investigator of the study.

Review Date: 
January 14, 2011