Progress in the battle against hypertension. Changes in blood pressure levels in the United States from 1960 to 1980.
Intensive efforts by practicing physicians and public health workers to identify and treat persons with hypertension have been underway for many years. In this report, changes in blood pressure levels in the United States are assessed based on nationally representative health (and nutrition) examination surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in 1960 to 1962, 1971 to 1974, and 1976 to 1980. Analysis of age-adjusted data for adults aged 18 to 74 years (including those on antihypertensive medication) indicates that between the first and third surveys for whites and blacks, respectively, mean systolic blood pressure declined 5 and 10 mm Hg; the proportion of persons with systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher fell 18 and 31%; the proportion with undiagnosed hypertension decreased 17 and 59%; and the proportion taking antihypertensive medications rose 71 and 31%. These differences between the first and third surveys were all statistically significant (p less than 0.05 or better). Changes in diastolic blood pressure levels were generally not significant among race-sex groups. The proportion of persons with definite hypertension (i.e., systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 160 mm Hg, and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 95 mm Hg, and/or taking antihypertensive medication) declined among blacks but rose slightly among whites. Study results are consistent with the recent decline in cardiovascular disease mortality.
- Copyright © 1987 by American Heart Association