Hypertension Rates Were Higher in Adults With Disabilities

Disabled patients with limited mobility had highest hypertension rates

(RxWiki News) High blood pressure is a common condition, and new research suggests that it may be even more common among adults with disabilities.

The new study examined rates of high blood pressure among adults 20 and older across the US.

The study found that adults with disabilities — especially mobility limitations — were more likely to have high blood pressure.

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The study was written by Alissa Stevens, MPH, of the Division of Human Development and Disability at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, and colleagues

The authors wanted to more fully understand how hypertension — or high blood pressure — affected people with disabilities.

To explore the topic, Stevens and team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for the years 2001 to 2010. This survey involved 23,800 people 20 and older across the US and measured a number of health topics, including disability and high blood pressure.

For the purposes of this study, disabilities included issues with cognition, hearing, vision or mobility.

Overall, the researchers found that 30 percent of the adults had high blood pressure and 37.9 percent had a disability.

After analyzing the data, Stevens and colleagues found that 34.2 percent of adults with disabilities had high blood pressure. The same was true for for only 26.9 percent of adults without disabilities.

In comparing high blood pressure rates among adults with different types of disabilities, the researchers found that adults with mobility limitations were most likely to have high blood pressure — 39.1 percent of this group had it.

Stevens and team estimated that these differences accounted for a 13 percent higher rate of high blood pressure among adults with disabilities than among adults without them.

"This disparity, and the variation by disability type, may in part be explained by behavioral risk factors such as obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity that co-occur with or worsen the effects of hypertension and that disproportionately affect people with disabilities," Stevens and team wrote.

Further research is needed to confirm these findings and better understand why high blood pressure rates might differ among those with disabilities, the authors noted. This study found an association between high blood pressure and disabilities, not a link that proved one caused the other.

The study was published in the CDC's Preventing Chronic Disease Aug. 14. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest or funding information.

Review Date: 
August 13, 2014