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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013 May 10;62(18):351-5.

Racial/Ethnic disparities in the awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension - United States, 2003-2010.


Hypertension is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and affects nearly one third of U.S. adults. Because the risk for cardiovascular disease mortality increases as blood pressure increases, clinical recommendations for persons with stage 2 hypertension (systolic blood pressure [SBP] ≥160 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure [DBP] ≥100 mmHg) include a more extensive treatment and follow-up regime than for those with stage 1 hypertension (SBP 140-159 mmHg or DBP 90-99 mmHg). Although racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence of hypertension have been well documented; ethnic disparities in the awareness, treatment, and control within blood pressure stages have not. To examine racial/ethnic disparities in awareness, treatment, and control of high blood pressure by hypertension stages, CDC analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the period 2003-2010. This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the proportion of Mexican-Americans and blacks with stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension was greater than for whites.* Among those with stage 1 hypertension, treatment with medication was significantly lower for Mexican-Americans compared with their non-Hispanic counterparts. Although treatment among persons with stage 2 hypertension did not differ by race/ethnicity, less than 60% of those with stage 2 hypertension were treated with medication. More efforts are needed to reduce barriers to accessing health care and low-cost medication, as well as increasing clinicians' hypertension treatment knowledge and adherence to clinical guidelines.

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