U.S. survey finds high blood pressure in one-third – 29 percent, of U.S. adults.

Hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease and affects almost one-third of the U.S. adult population. In 2009–2010, nearly 82 percent of adults with hypertension were aware of their condition, and nearly 76 percent were taking medication. Despite considerable improvements in increasing high blood pressure awareness, treatment, and control, minority groups are still behind in diagnosis and control and remain a challenge.

The results of the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NEHANES, 2011–2012) are out and nearly one third (29.1 percent) of U.S. adults have hypertension. The survey, which rates the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension, found similar results to its 2009 to 2010 predecessor. Moreover, there has been hardly any change, or improvement for that matter, in awareness, treatment, or control.

The prevalence of hypertension increased with age and was highest (42 percent) among non-Hispanic black adults. Among adults with hypertension, nearly 83 percent were aware, nearly 76 percent were taking medication to lower their blood pressure, and nearly 52 percent had their blood pressure controlled to less than 140/90 mm Hg.

Men and women had similar prevalence and awareness of hypertension, but more women than men were treating their high blood pressure and had it under control. Young adults aged 18 to 39, continued to have lower awareness, treatment, and control compared with older adults.
The NEHANES report stresses that high blood pressure is a common and manageable chronic condition. Based on recent national data from 2011–2012, treatment of hypertension exceeded the Healthy People 2020 target goal of 69.5 percent. However, the actual control “has neither met the goal of the Healthy People 2020 (61.2 percent by 2020) nor the Million Hearts Initiative (65 percent by 2017).” The report says their results “provide evidence for continued efforts to improve the management of hypertension in order to attain these goals.”

NEHANES is a cross-sectional survey designed to monitor the health and nutritional status of civilian non-institutionalized Americans. It is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The survey consists of comprises interviews conducted in a participant’s home; a standardized physical examination that includes measurement of blood pressure, weight, and height, conducted in a mobile examination center; and laboratory tests using the blood and urine specimens provided by the participant during the physical examination.


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