More older adults are not aware of hypertension

In the journals

Published: March, 2021

Do you know if you have hypertension (high blood pressure)? And if you do, are you treating it effectively? Study findings published online Sept. 9, 2020, by JAMA found that people's awareness and control of their high blood pressure have both dropped in recent years, especially among older adults.

The study pulled data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It found that the number of people who knew they had hypertension fell 8% from 2013 to 2018. Among those who were aware of their condition, more than half did not manage it adequately. In particular, adults ages 60 and older were less likely to control their high blood pressure than younger people. Lack of engagement could be a factor. Researchers noted that among people who hadn't been to their doctor in the past year, fewer than 10% had controlled their blood pressure.

Some of the study was done using the older definition of high blood pressure — a systolic blood pressure (top number) of 140 or higher or a diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 90 or higher. New guidelines released in 2017 recommend people with hypertension should control their blood pressure to less than 130/80. This suggests that today even more adults may not realize they have high blood pressure.

Image: © SrdjanPav/Getty Images

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.