Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults--United States, 2003-2010

Author(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Background:Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. This report uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to examine awareness and pharmacologic treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among U.S. adults with hypertension and focuses on three groups: those who are unaware of their hypertension, those who are aware but not treated with medication, and those who are aware and pharmacologically treated with medication but still have uncontrolled hypertension.

Methods:CDC analyzed data from the NHANES 2003-2010 to estimate the prevalence of hypertension awareness and treatment among adults with uncontrolled hypertension. Hypertension was defined as an average systolic blood pressure (SBP)≥140 mmHg or an average diastolic blood pressure (DBP)≥90 mmHg, or currently using blood pressure (BP)-lowering medication. Uncontrolled hypertension was defined as an average SBP≥140 mmHg or an average DBP≥90 mmHg, among those with hypertension.

Results:The overall prevalence of hypertension among U.S. adults aged≥18 years in 2003-2010 was 30.4% or an estimated 66.9 million. Among those with hypertension, an estimated 35.8 million (53.5%) did not have their hypertension controlled. Among these, an estimated 14.1 million (39.4%) were not aware of their hypertension, an estimated 5.7 million (15.8%) were aware of their hypertension but were not receiving pharmacologic treatment, and an estimated 16.0 million (44.8%) were aware of their hypertension and were being treated with medication. Of the 35.8 million U.S. adults with uncontrolled hypertension, 89.4% reported having a usual source of health care, and 85.2% reported having health insurance.

Implications for public health practice:Nearly 90% of U.S. adults with uncontrolled hypertension have a usual source of health care and insurance, representing a missed opportunity for hypertension control. Improved hypertension control will require an expanded effort and an increased focus on BP from health-care systems, clinicians, and individuals.

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