Hypertension and Use of BP Medications on the Rise in US, Says CDC

April 04, 2013

ATLANTA, GA — The prevalence of self-reported hypertension increased over a recent five-year period in the US, as did the number of individuals taking antihypertensive medications, according to a new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[1].

In a report published April 5, 2013 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the authors state that from 2005 to 2009, the overall age-adjusted prevalence of self-reported hypertension increased from 25.8% to 28.3%. Nearly every state experienced an increase in the prevalence of hypertension, with absolute percentage-point increases from as small as 0.2% in Virginia to as large as 7.0% in Kentucky.

In terms of relative increases, Kentucky saw the prevalence of hypertension increase 25.5%, up from 27.5% in 2005 to 34.5% in 2009. Hawaii reported a 22.9% relative increase in the prevalence of hypertension, while New Hampshire, Utah, and West Virginia also saw increases of approximately 20% over the five-year period. In 12 states, more than 30% of the population is reported to be hypertensive. Minnesota, California, and the District of Columbia were the only three states where the prevalence of hypertension decreased between 2005 and 2009.

Among individuals with hypertension, the proportion taking antihypertensive medications increased from 61.1% in 2005 to 62.6% in 2009. In Tennessee, nearly three-quarters of the hypertensive subjects were taking medication, whereas just 52.3% of those in California were receiving antihypertensive treatment. However, as the researchers noted, there was no change in the number of patients taking antihypertensive medication in Tennessee, whereas use increased from 48.0% in 2005 to 52.3% in California.

Overall, there were significant increases in the use of antihypertensives in California, Iowa, and Michigan, while use in Kentucky, a state that showed significant absolute and relative increases in the prevalence of hypertension, declined from 73.4% in 2005 to 65.7% in 2009. Use of antihypertensive medications also decreased in Nebraska and Rhode Island.

"Increasing awareness of hypertension, improving hypertension control, and encouraging adherence to evidence-based practices addressing hypertension are needed, especially in those states with higher prevalence of hypertension and lower proportion of use of antihypertensive medications," according to lead author Dr Jian Fang (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA).

In terms of patient demographics, older patients, men, and African Americans were more likely to have hypertension. Among African Americans, the self-reported prevalence of hypertension was 39.0% vs 32.0% in American Indian/Alaska Natives, 27.6% in Hispanics, 27.1% in whites, and 24.0% in Asian/Pacific Islanders.

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