Oct. 27, 2010 -- High blood pressure is a major health problem in the U.S., but the good news is that the number of people who know they have the condition has been increasing dramatically, the CDC says in a new report.
A health concern in the U.S. for years has been a lack of awareness among many people with high blood pressure that they have the condition.
But the CDC says the percentage of people who know they have high blood pressure has increased from 69.6% in 1999-2000 to 80.6% in 2007-2008.
Also, the percentage of people with high blood pressure taking medications for the condition increased from 60.2% in 1999-2000 to 73.7% in 2007-2008, according to CDC.
This apparently accounts for the finding by researchers that the percentage of people whose blood pressure was controlled in the past decade also increased among all population subgroups.
Though medication is helping people control blood pressure, the prevalence of adults with the condition has held steady in the past 10 years for men and women, all adult age groups, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Mexican-Americans.
The CDC report says high blood pressure is one of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, affecting about 30% of U.S. adults.
Among other key findings:
The percentage of adults who have controlled blood pressure increased from 30.3% in 1999-2000 to 48.4% in the most recent period.
The percentage of hypertensive adults who brought their blood pressure under control increased significantly over the decade among men and women, all adult age groups, and three major race and ethnic groups.
The prevalence of high blood pressure among adults remained higher over the 10-year period for non-Hispanic blacks, compared with non-Hispanic whites and Mexican-Americans.
High blood pressure awareness increased among adults between 40 and 59 and 60 and over, but not among people 18 to 39. Awareness did not increase among Mexican-Americans over the 10-year period.
The percentage of people with high blood pressure taking medication to lower it increased for those 18 to 39 and 60 and over, but not for people 40 to 59, the CDC report says.
The report suggests that efforts to inform the public about the dangers of high blood pressure are succeeding, but that there is room for improvement because hypertension remains a major problem in the U.S.
“We are now seeing more people being treated with medication, particularly younger people,” Nieca Goldberg, MD, director of the Women’s Heart Program and clinical associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, says in a statement about the CDC report. “There has to be a greater effort to impress healthy lifestyles on young people because long standing hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke and heart failure.”