Dec. 11, 2006 -- More Americans are controlling their high blood pressure than a few years ago, and many more need to follow in their footsteps.
That's up 8% from 1999-2000, the study shows.
The improvements are "highly encouraging," since better blood pressure control may cut heart attacks and strokes, note the researchers.
They included the University of Hong Kong's Bernard M.Y. Cheung, PhD, and colleagues.
Even so, two-thirds of Americans with high blood pressure don't have their blood pressure under control, the study suggests.
"There is room for further improvement," and doctors should "step up treatment" for patients with high blood pressure, Cheung's team writes.
The study appears in Hypertension.
Data came from blood pressure tests taken by more 14,600 U.S. adults who took part in national health studies.
Nearly 30% had high blood pressure. That included 7% of those aged 18-39, 33% of those aged 40-59, and 66% of those aged 60 and older.
Those figures didn't change much between 1999 and 2004.
But the percentage of people who had their high blood pressure under control improved by 8%, the study shows.
Doctors should encourage patients to adopt healthy lifestyles and use medications to lower high blood pressure if needed, the researchers write.
Not sure if you have high blood pressure or how to tame your blood pressure? Talk to your doctor for advice.