Hypertension Is on the Rise

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

New data show that nearly a third of American adults have high bloodpressure, putting them at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidneyfailure. Experts believe that the obesity epidemic and the aging populationare to blame. Reporting in Hypertension: The Journal of the AmericanHeart Association (August 24, 2004), researchers found that 30% moreAmerican adults have hypertension, compared with the previous decade.

The current figures are based on Census data and a 1999-2000 NationalHealth and Nutrition Examination survey of 4531 adults. The figuresshow that 31.3% of Americans have high blood pressure, up from 28.9%from the previous national health report from 1988-1994. Old age, excessweight, and lack of physical exercise are risks for hypertension. The standardsystolic pressure should be below 120 mm Hg, while the diastolicpressure should be <80 mm Hg.

The analysis found that 65 million Americans either have high bloodpressure (defined as blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher), takeblood-pressure-lowering medications, or have been told at least 2 timesthat they have high blood pressure. Because there are no symptoms ofhigh blood pressure, adults should be checked at least every 2 years, recommendedstudy author Larry E. Fields, MD.