High Blood Pressure Often Uncontrolled
Problem Especially Seen in Elderly Women
The percentages with normal blood pressure were:
- Younger than 60: 39%
- 60-79: 14%
- 80 and older: 7%
Everyone else had prehypertension. Even people with prehypertension are at increased risk of developing heart problems.
Blood Pressure Risky for Blacks
The study's participants were mainly white. In the U.S., blacks tend to develop high blood pressure at an earlier age and have more severe cases than whites.
Blood Pressure Control Worst in Elderly Women
Few people (32% overall) had gotten their high blood pressure under control. "Control" meant getting blood pressure out of the "high" category, not all the way down to "normal."
Elderly women aged 80 and older were the least likely to have their high blood pressure under control. Fewer than one in four of them had gotten their high blood pressure under control.
Among men of the same age, 38% had their high blood pressure under control, the researchers write.
Lack of blood pressure control raises the chance of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Overall, nearly seven in 10 people with high blood pressure were getting treated. Most (60%) took one blood pressure drug, 30% used two, and 10% used three or more.
Water pills (diuretics) were underused as a blood pressure treatment, particularly among men, with newer blood pressure drugs getting "preferential prescription," write the researchers.
While the researchers don't question the safety and usefulness of those newer drugs, they note some advantages with diuretics.
There is "wealth of evidence suggesting that thiazide diuretics are the most cost-effective agents for blood pressure reduction, and that they are particularly efficacious among the elderly," write the researchers.