Blood Pressure The number of senior Mexican-Americans with hypertension residing in the Southwest region of the United States is apparently elevating. If experts from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are to be believed, then the rate of hypertension is raising because of increase in diabetes and obesity. It was suggested that awareness and better management can help control hypertension.

During the study, investigators evaluated 3,952 older Mexican-Americans living in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and California. While 3,050 men and women, aged 65 and older, were scrutinized in 1993-1994, an additional 902 men and women, 75 and older, were included by 2004-2005. Participants were interviewed and also health measurements were taken every two to three years. The hypertension prevalence rates appeared considerably different in 1993-1994 than 2004-2005. The rate of hypertension was 73 percent in 1993-1994 and by 2004-2005 it seemingly elevated to 78.4 percent. This increase may be particularly significant among those aged 75 to 79 years, born in the U.S., diabetics and obese.

Kyriakos S. Markides, co-author and principal investigator of the study, highlighted, “More effort should be targeted to reverse trends of both obesity and diabetes as potential causes of increases in hypertension. Further investigations should be directed toward providing clear guidelines and goals for hypertension treatment and control in the very old to improve hypertension outcomes in this population.”

Scientists analyzed self-reported hypertension by questioning volunteers if they were ever diagnosed with high blood pressure. Interviewers took blood pressure readings during in-home visits itself. Medications taken two weeks prior to the interview were recorded. Participants were considered hypertensive if they had a history of an average systolic blood pressure or an average diastolic blood pressure. Overall hypertension awareness appeared 82.6 percent in 2004-2005 and 63 percent during 1993-1994. Diabetic and obese study subjects were possibly more likely to be hypertensive by 2004-2005 than in 1993-1994.

The study is published in the January issue of the Annals of Epidemiology.