In just five years, U.S. hypertension rates increased 10%

CDC: Americans need to better manage hypertension to avoid stroke, heart attack

The percentage of Americans who have high blood pressure rose from about 26% in 2005 to more than 28% in 2009, a nearly 10% increase, according to a new CDC study.

For the study, researchers examined data collected through a telephone survey conducted by state health departments across the country.

In addition to an overall increase in the number of people reporting hypertension, the study also found that in 2009:

The prevalence of people with hypertension ranged from a high of nearly 36% in Mississippi to a low of almost 21% in Minnesota;

The number of people who managed their hypertension with medication varied on a state-by-state basis; and

Rates of hypertension varied based on age, gender, education levels, and race and ethnicity, with seniors, men, African Americans, and those without a high-school diploma being more likely to have hypertension.

Overall, the survey found that only 62% of respondents who said they had hypertension were using medication to control it.

Fleetwood Loustalot—a researcher at the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion—said that the increased prevalence of hypertension was likely due to increased awareness about the disease.

However, he said that managing hypertension was "[w]hat we are really concerned about." He explained, "Only about half of those with hypertension have it controlled [and] … Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to negative health consequences like heart attacks and strokes" (Reinberg, HealthDay, 4/4).

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