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High blood pressure: Awareness and treatment

In the period from 1976 to 1980, only 51% of people who had high blood pressure knew they had a problem. More recently, in the 1991-94 period, 68.4% are aware of their condition.

Prior to 1980, only 31% of people with high blood pressure were receiving treatment; in the later period, that had risen to 53.6%.

In the earlier period only 10% had their blood pressure under control; that number has risen to 27.4%. Of people with high blood pressure,

  • 14.8% are not receiving medication,
  • 26.2% are on inadequate therapy (blood pressure is not controlled)
  • and only 27.4% are on adequate therapy (blood pressure is controlled). 31.6% of people with high blood pressure donít know they have it.

    [Source: NHANES data, cited by AHA and in JNC VI]
    Healthy People 2000: High blood pressure objectives

    Twenty years ago, the US Department of Health and Human Services created 'Healthy People 2000' Ė an initiative that defines the nation's health agenda through more than 300 objectives in disease prevention and health promotion. Measuring progress provides an annual review of the progress of the health of Americans.
    Healthy People 2000 includes two objectives related to high blood pressure, which is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

    1. To increase the proportion of people with high blood pressure whose blood pressure is under control to at least 50%.

    2. To increase the proportion of people with high blood pressure who are taking action to help control their blood pressure to at least 90%.

    How are we doing?

    Objective #1:

    In the period between 1976 and 1980, only 11% had their blood pressure under control. By 1991, that figure was 29%. Although an increase, it falls far short of the objective of 50%.

    Objective #2:

    In 1994, 71% of people who knew they had high blood pressure were doing something about controlling it; that figure is actually lower than the baseline measurement of 79% in 1985.

    [Source: Healthy People 2000 Review, DHHS]