A recent study by a representative of the US population found that uncontrolled blood pressure rose by 10% in 2017-18 compared to several years earlier.
Researchers from the University of Alabama published their findings on Wednesday in the JAMA network.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common but dangerous condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and the CDC says those with hypertension “may be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease,” although the study’s authors say it’s unsafe.
The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey in the United States to assess any changes in blood pressure control in adults in the United States with hypertension from 1
Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure (upper number) above 140 mm Hg and a diastolic number (lower number) higher than 90 mm Hg. According to Healthline, systolic pressure “refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle,” while diastolic pressure, the lowest number, “refers to your blood pressure when the heart muscle is between strokes.”
From over 18,000 adults with hypertension, the share of blood pressure control has increased from nearly 32% in 1999-2000 to almost 49% by 2007-08. The researchers say that then blood pressure control stabilized to almost 54% by 2013-14, before falling to less than 44% by 2017-18.
When researchers applied stricter blood pressure guidelines published in 2017 by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (listing hypertension as an indicator of 130/80 mmHg or higher), they found that only 19% of adults in the US they have blood pressure under control.
Federal guidelines offer annual blood pressure checkups for adults over 40 and for younger people at risk.
“In the current study, a significant percentage of adults aged 18 to 44 with hypertension did not know they had hypertension. Efforts are needed to ensure the screening of AN for younger adults, “the study authors wrote, noting that additional efforts are needed to initiate and maintain antihypertensive drugs among younger adults.