Questions for Jill J. Ashman, Ph.D., Health Statistician and Lead Author on “Age Differences in Visits to Office-based Physicians by Adults With Hypertension: United States, 2013”
Q: Why did you choose age differences as the demographic focus of your study?
JA: I wanted to examine this demographic because of the dramatic differences by age I was seeing in preliminary analyses. For instance, the increase by age in the percentage of adult visits to office-based physicians made by adults with hypertension is large–going from 9% of adults aged 18-44 to 58% of adults aged 75 and over.
Q: What do you think is the most significant finding in your new study?
JA: Probably, the most significant finding is that 34% of all adult visits to office-based physicians were made by adults with hypertension, representing an estimated 259 million office visits in 2013.
Q: How likely was it that medication(s) for high blood pressure were included as part of the treatment that Americans with hypertension were getting at their doctors’ offices?
JA: VERY LIKELY! Hypertensive medications were provided, prescribed, or continued at 62% of office-based physician visits made by adults with hypertension, and the percentage with hypertensive medications increased with age. Half of visits by patients aged 18-44 with hypertension included hypertensive medications whereas this percentage increased to 65% for visits by patients aged 75 and over with hypertension.
Q: Among American adults with high blood pressure, is hypertension the only condition they have when they visit their doctors’ offices?
JA: Hypertension is NOT their only health concern. Eighty-two percent of visits in 2013 that were made by adults with hypertension were made by patients who had been diagnosed with other chronic conditions. A quarter of the visits by adults with hypertension were made by patients who had been diagnosed with 4 or more chronic conditions.
Q: What is the take home message of your report?
JA: I think it’s important to note that regardless of age, adults with hypertension use extensive health resources as evidenced by frequent visits to the doctor (47% of all such visits including four or more visits to the same doctor in the past year) and that there is extensive use of hypertensive medications, with 62% of all such visits including one or more hypertensive medications.