Americans Are Controlling Their High Blood Pressure
October 24, 2012

High Blood Pressure Controlled By Almost Half Of US Adults

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

A new study reported in the upcoming issue of the American Heart Association´s journal Circulation states that almost half of adults in the U.S. have controlled their high blood pressure.

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) believe that the findings may be due to a number of factors, including an increase in the use of various drug combinations.

“Much progress has been made in blood pressure control over the last 10-year period and the use of multiple drug combinations apparently has had an effect,” noted Dr. Qiuping Gu, an epidemiologist at the NCHS, in a prepared statement.

In the study, the team of investigators interviewed 9,320 patients who had hypertension. They were included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that took place from 2001 to 2010. At the end of 2010, 47 percent reported that they had controlled their blood pressure. This is a drastic change compared to 10 years earlier, where only 29 percent of the testing population had controlled their blood pressure.

The study is being touted as the first in-person survey to look at blood pressure control rates before and after the publication of the Joint National Committee (JNC7) treatment guidelines in 2003. Under these guidelines, patients had to use a combination therapy with two or more drugs to be able to successfully control their blood pressure. In particular, single combination had 55 percent likelihood of control while multiple-pill combinations had 26 percent likelihood of control. Researchers believe that the lower cost of medications and availability of pills could have heightened awareness of the necessity of controlling high blood pressure.

Furthermore, the scientists discovered that older people, people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease, as well as black had higher rates of blood pressure while Mexican-Americans had the lowest likelihood of taking their medication to control their blood pressure.

“While there are possibly several factors involved, more needs to be learned about why only 34 percent of Mexican-Americans with hypertension have their blood pressure under control,” continued Gu in the statement.

The study only included responses based off of medications used in the month before the study, so those who possibly took medications were titled as “non-users.” The NHANES blood pressure measurements were also collected during one time, so people in the study may have been incorrectly classified. The study highlights the impact of high blood pressure on an individual´s overall health. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in three adults (or 68 million) are estimated to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is considered a “silent killer” because there are no warning signs or symptoms, and so many people will develop the disease without even realizing it. High blood pressure can cause people to be at risk for heart disease and stroke. As such, the organization advocates that individuals have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis. As well, patients are recommended to consume a balanced diet, to keep a health weight, and to stay physically active.