High Blood Pressure
Thursday, January 15, 2009

According to recent estimates, about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, nearly one-third of these people donít know they have it. In todayís 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that says awareness of the condition may be on the rise.

An increasingly high percentage of Americans have hypertension, or high blood pressure, due in part to a rise in obesity. Thanks to education and screening, more people with hypertension are aware that they have the condition and can seek help.

Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which evaluates a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.

Researchers compared data gathered between 1988 and 1994 with data gathered between 1999 and 2004. The prevalence rate for hypertension rose from 24 percent in the 1988 to 1994 group to 29 percent in the 1999 to 2004 group.

There was some good news. Awareness increased among participants with high blood pressure, climbing from 69 percent awareness to 72 percent. Treatment rates also increased and control rates were better.

The study found that obesity contributed significantly to higher rates of hypertension. This is particularly relevant because of the ongoing prevalence of childhood obesity, which could lead to an even greater rise in high blood pressure rates in years to come.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.