JAMA logoHypertension is prominently known as systolic blood pressure (BP) of at least 140 mm Hg and diastolic BP of at least 90 mm Hg. It probably occurs when the pressure of the blood in the arteries is heightened. The study commenced by the Medical University of South Carolina discovered that although 50 percent patients with hypertension have their blood pressure under control, the amount of patients with hypertension have not appeared to reduce in the U.S. in the recent years.

This illness which is ascertained to elevate the risk for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, arterial aneurysm, and chronic kidney failure has apparently boosted from 10 percent in NHANES II in 1976-1980 to 31 percent in 1999-2000. The lead author Brent M. Egan, M.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and colleagues identified all the changes that possibly occur together in hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control for all adults.

The authors explained, “Hypertension is a prevalent condition affecting approximately 65 million individuals in the United States based on a preliminary report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006 and coincident U.S. population estimates. Given the prevalence and impact of hypertension on health outcomes and disparities, several national initiatives developed programs, guidelines, and policies to facilitate hypertension prevention, detection/awareness, treatment, and control.”

The study was conducted for subsets on the basis of age, race/ ethnicity, and sex across NHANES 1988-1994 and 1999-2008 in five 2-year blocks. It was comprised of 42,856 adults aged above 18 years, symbolizing a sample of the U.S. population. After conducting the study the authors concluded that the rates of hypertension increased from 23.9 percent in 1988 to 1994 to 28.5 percent in 1999 to 2000. It should be perceived that no changes were registered between 1999 to 2000 and 2007 to 2008; it remained constant at 29.0 percent.

It is observed that prevalent hypertension is not decreasing toward the national goal of 16 percent and can probably remain high. This may be altered by adverse trends in population nutrition and when body mass index occur or when pharmacological approaches to hypertension prevention may be adopted. It further appeared that hypertension control elevated from 27.3 percent in 1988 to 1994 to 50.1 percent in 2007 to 2008. There was also a reduction noted in BP from 143.0/80.4 mm Hg to 135.2/74.1 mm Hg among patients with hypertension.

The authors commented, “Blood pressure control improved significantly more in absolute percentages between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 vs. 1988-1994 and 1999-2000. Better BP control reflected improvements in awareness, treatment, and proportion of patients who were treated and had controlled hypertension. Hypertension control improved significantly between 1988-1994 and 2007-2008, across age, race, and sex groups, but was lower among individuals aged 18 to 39 years vs. 40 to 59 years and 60 years or older, and in Hispanic vs. white individuals.”

The results seemingly claim that there were signs of improvement in hypertension control, even though there were extreme alterations in nutrition and body mass index. This proves that more people are aware about this illness and improvised treatments are certainly available. Also patients who were treated attaining target BP, in all individuals with hypertension combined and all age, race, and sex subgroups displayed improved results.

It should not be forgotten that demographic disparities do exist and more awareness ought to be created amongst individuals belonging to the age group of 18 to 39 years, Hispanic, and male groups. Apart from this an increase in the number of patients treated and controlled among 60 years or older, black, and female groups are important for improving hypertension control and reducing disparities.

The study was published in the May 26 issue of JAMA.