CDC: Hypertension prevalence stays same, medication use rises
There has been no change in the prevalence of high blood pressure among U.S. adults between 1999 and 2008, but a greater percentage of people are being treated with hypertension medication, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sung Sug (Sarah) Yoon, of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found the prevalence of hypertension steady over the 10-year period at 30 percent.

Broken down by subsets—age, sex, race/ethnicity—the researchers found that high blood pressure prevalence did not change among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks or Mexican-Americans; however, the rate was higher for non-Hispanic black adults compared to the others.

The prevalence of high blood pressure did not change in the various age groups—18–39, 40–59, or 60 years and older—or between either sex.

Additionally, the authors found that patients became more aware of their condition during the 10-year period. The percentage of adults who were aware of their high blood pressure increased 11 percent, from 69.6 percent in 1999 to 80.6 percent in 2008.

Adults aged 40-59 and those over 60 were more likely to become aware of their high blood pressure during the 10-year period compared to those 18-39 years of age. Mexican-Americans were least likely to be aware of their condition.

The percentage of patients treated with hypertension medications increased from 60.2 percent to 73.7 percent, and the majority of use increased for those who were between the ages 18-39 and those aged 60 years and above.

While the use of hypertension medications increased, the percentage of adults whose blood pressure is now controlled increased from 30.3 percent in 1999 to 48.4 percent in 2008, a difference of 18.1 percent.

The NHANES monitors the health and nutritional status and is conducted via in-home interviews with patients.