High Blood Pressure Rates, Management, Awareness Increasing, Racial Disparities Still Exist, Study Finds
More U.S. residents are being treated for high blood pressure in large part because of increasing obesity rates, but there is greater awareness of risk factors for the condition, particularly among white men and blacks, according to a study published in the November issue of Hypertension, United Press International reports.
For the study, lead author Jeffrey Cutler of NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and colleagues used data from two National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys (United Press International, 10/14). The surveys included data on 30,781 individuals. Researchers found that from 1994 to 2004, the percentage of U.S. residents with high blood pressure increased from 50.3% to 55.5%. In addition, the percentage of those considered likely to develop high blood pressure increased from 32.3% to 36.1%.
The percentage of those who were aware of high blood pressure increased by 5% -- particularly among black women, according to the study. In addition, the percentage of black men who had their high blood pressure under control increased from 17% to 30%, compared with an increase from 22% to 39% for white men. Women of all races did not experience an increase in high blood pressure control, and Mexican-Americans had the lowest rate of high blood pressure control.
Theodore Kotchen, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and author of an editorial accompanying the study, said that while the "percentage of hypertension is increasing, and perhaps that's due to obesity," the medical community should "pay more attention to the problem of obesity and overweight." He added, "Hypertension remains uncontrolled in an unacceptably large number of individuals. We've made some progress, but more work needs to be done" (Reinberg, HealthDay/Washington Post, 10/13).