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Control of Hypertension Has Significantly Improved in U.S.

No significant changes in overall prevalence, awareness and treatment

MONDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Although there were no significant changes in the overall prevalence, awareness and treatment of hypertension in the United States from 1999-2004, control of hypertension significantly improved, especially in the elderly, according to study results published online Dec. 11 in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Bernard M.Y. Cheung, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Hong Kong used blood pressure data on 14,653 individuals from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine hypertension in the United States. Those with a blood pressure of at least 140/90 mm Hg or who were taking antihypertensive medications were considered hypertensive.

The researchers found that the prevalence of hypertension ranged from a mean of 7.3 percent in those 18-39 years old to 66 percent in those at least 60 years old. While there were no major changes in the overall prevalence, awareness and treatment of hypertension during the study period, there was a significant increase in the control of hypertension from a mean of 29.2 percent to 36.9 percent, with an age-adjusted increase of 8.1 percent. The improved control rates were observed in both sexes, Mexican-Americans, non-Hispanic blacks and those at least 60 years old.

"The improvement in blood pressure control is encouraging, although the prevalence of hypertension has not declined," Cheung and colleagues conclude. "These findings suggest that public health measures or changes in clinical practice are in the right direction."

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