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Hypertension Poorly Controlled By 53% Of Americans

Of the 66.9 million Americans with high blood pressure, 53.5% do not have their hypertension under control, says a new report issued by the CDC (MMWR report). Hypertension means high blood pressure. The authors added that 39.4% (14.1 million) of Americans with hypertension are unaware of their condition.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), hypertension is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in the USA; it also contributes significantly to national morbidity and mortality figures.

The authors of the report gathered and analyzed data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) to determine levels of hypertension awareness and what pharmacological treatments there were for the condition nationally.

The authors focused on three groups of people: People with hypertension who are unaware People who know they have hypertension but are not being treated with hypertensive drugs People who are aware of their hypertension, receive treatment with drugs, but still do not have it under control The authors defined hypertension as having an average SBP (systolic blood pressure) of at least 140 mmHg, or an average DBP (diastolic blood pressure) of at least 90 mmHg. They also included patients taking hypertensive drugs as people with high blood pressure.

Below are some of the findings revealed in this latest report, all figures refer to Americans aged at least 18 years during the perios 2003 to 2010: 66.9 million people had hypertension, 30.4% of the country's adult population
53.5% of hypertensive Americans did not have their condition under control
14.1 million people with high blood pressure did know they have the condition
5.7 million people with hypertension who knew about their condition were receiving no treatment for it
Only 44.8% (16 million) knew about the hypertensive status and were taking medication for their condition
Of the 35.8 million American adults with poorly controlled hypertension, 85.2% said they had health insurance and 89.4% had a usual source of health care The authors wrote:

"Nearly 90% of U.S. adults with uncontrolled hypertension have a usual source of health care and insurance, representing a missed opportunity for hypertension control. Improved hypertension control will require an expanded effort and an increased focus on BP from health-care systems, clinicians, and individuals."

Controlling hypertension is often difficult to achieve successfully. Barriers to successful high blood pressure control may come from the patient himself, health-care systems, health-care providers, and the silent nature of the condition.

Even slight increases in blood pressure can significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The risk of ischemic heart disease and stoke doubles for every 20-mmHg rise in SBP from 115 mmHg, the researchers wrote.

A 2011 study carried out by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that 55.1 million US adults were receiving treatment for hypertension.

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