Hypertension Prevalence and Control Among Adults: United States, 2015-2016

October 18, 2017

Questions for Cheryl Fryar, M.S.P.H., Health Statistician and Lead Author on “Hypertension Prevalence and Control Among Adults: United States, 2015-2016

Q: What made you decide to conduct this study on hypertension prevalence and control?

CF: The primary motivation for conducting this study was to offer the public updated data on U.S. adults who have high blood pressure. Every two years new data are available for us to provide updated estimates of hypertension prevalence and control. Data were recently released for the 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and our next step was to analyze the data and provide accessible statistical information that might guide actions to improve the health of the American people.

Q: Was there a finding in your new study that surprised you, and if so, why?

CF: The findings were pretty consistent with what’s been previously reported. The prevalence of hypertension hasn’t changed much since 1999. Among those with hypertension, controlled hypertension increased between 1999 and 2010, and then has remained stable since that time. There was an observed decrease in hypertension control since 2013-2014, but this change was not statistically significant. It is too early to tell whether or not a change in hypertension control is occurring.

Q: What do you think is the most interesting demographic finding among your new study’s findings for 2015-2016 – age, race, sex?

CF: There are a number of interesting demographic findings in this report, and we still find disparities among demographic subgroups. Hypertension prevalence was highest among non-Hispanic black men and women. Hypertension also increases with age — from 7.5% in the youngest age group 18-39, to 63.1% in the oldest age group 60 and over.

On the other hand, among adults with hypertension, about half of adults 40 and over with hypertension had controlled hypertension compared to about a third of young adults. Overall, women with hypertension had higher controlled hypertension than men with hypertension.

Q: When you identified adults with controlled hypertension in your study, was that through participants’ self-reporting that they were on medication for high blood pressure or another method? If it was self-reporting, how do you know it’s true?

CF: One of the strengths of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, is that it combines both interviews in the home and physical examinations in mobile examination centers, including blood pressure measurement. In order to identify people with controlled hypertension, we looked at the measured blood pressure of adults who were taking medication for their hypertension. If they had a measured systolic blood pressure reading < than 140 mmHg AND a diastolic reading of <90 mmHg, then their hypertension was considered controlled.

Q: What is the take-home message from this report? 

CF: I think the take-home message of this report is that hypertension prevalence has remained unchanged since 1999 at around 29%, and that just under half of adults with hypertension have their hypertension under control. High blood pressure among U.S. adults is a persistent and prevalent concern that is a serious factor in the health and well-being of the nation. The statistics in this new report show that we have yet to meet the Heathy People 2020 Goal of 61.2% for hypertension control.

Utilization of Clinical Preventive Services for Cancer and Heart Disease Among Insured Adults: United States, 2015

March 8, 2017

Questions for Anjel Vahratian, Supervisory Statistician (Health) and Lead Author on “Utilization of Clinical Preventive Services for Cancer and Heart Disease Among Insured Adults: United States, 2015

Q: Why did you decide to look at clinical preventive services for cancer and heart disease among insured adults?

AV: Heart disease and cancer are the top two leading causes of death in the United States. The clinical preventive services discussed in this report are recommended for the prevention or early detection of heart disease and cancer. We limited our analysis to insured adults because most insurance plans were required to cover these clinical preventive services without co-payment from the insured adult in 2015.

Q: What did your report find out about cancer screenings among insured adults?

AV: In 2015, two-thirds of insured adults aged 50-75 were screened for colorectal cancer within the recommended intervals, and screening was significantly associated with age for both men and women. Insured women aged 50-59 were more likely to be screened for colorectal cancer compared with men of the same age. Among insured women, more than 8 out of 10 of those aged 21-65 had been screened for cervical cancer, and nearly 3 out of 4 of those aged 50-74 had been screened for breast cancer within the recommended intervals.

Q: What did your report find out about heart disease screenings among insured adults?

AV: In 2015, more than 8 in 10 insured adults aged 18 and over had their blood pressure checked by a doctor or other health professional, and about 2 in 3 overweight and obese insured adults aged 40-70 had a fasting blood test for high blood sugar or diabetes in the past 12 months. Receipt of these services increased with advancing age and varied by sex. Insured women aged 18-39 and 40-64 were more likely than their male peers to have their blood pressure checked in the past 12 months, and insured overweight and obese women aged 40-49 were more likely than men of the same age and BMI to have a fasting blood test or diabetes in the past 12 months.

Q: Was there a specific finding that you found surprising?

AV: It was surprising that only 49.5% of overweight and obese insured men aged 40-49 had a fasting blood test for diabetes in the past 12 months. Diabetic adults are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and overweight and obesity and abnormal blood glucose are modifiable cardiovascular risk factors.

Q: What is the take home message of this report?

AV: Utilization of clinical preventive services aimed at the early detection of cancer and cardiovascular disease varied by sex and age among insured adults. Insured adults in their 40s and 50s were less likely than those in their 60s to be screened for colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Limited knowledge about the recommendations for clinical preventive services may prevent eligible adults from seeking out timely preventive care.

Hypertension Prevalence and Control Among Adults: United States, 2011–2014

November 17, 2015

Hypertension is a public health challenge in the United States because it directly increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.

An NCHS report presents updated estimates for the prevalence and control of hypertension in the United States for 2011–2014.

Key Findings:

  • Prevalence of hypertension among adults was 29.0% in 2011–2014 and increased with age: 18–39, 7.3%; 40–59, 32.2%; and 60 and over, 64.9%.
  • Hypertension prevalence was higher among non-Hispanic black (41.2%) than non-Hispanic white (28.0%), non-Hispanic Asian (24.9%), or Hispanic (25.9%) adults.
  • Prevalence of controlled hypertension was 53.0%, and adults aged 18–39 were less likely to have controlled hypertension than those aged 60 and over.
  • Overall, prevalence of controlled hypertension was higher among non-Hispanic white (55.7%) than non-Hispanic black (48.5%), non-Hispanic Asian (43.5%), or Hispanic (47.4%) adults.
  • From 1999 to 2014, hypertension prevalence was unchanged, but control of hypertension increased.


A brief look at heart disease

February 25, 2009

As a farewell to “American Heart Month,” here’s a brief synopsis of why the heart and its health affects so many of us:

  • Heart disease is the nation’s leading cause of death, responsible for 629,191 deaths in 2006 (National Vital Statistics System, 2006).
  • Heart disease is the nation’s leading diagnosis for hospitalization, at 4.2 million (National Hospital Discharge Survey, 2006).
  • Over 24 million visits to physician offices in 2006 resulted in a diagnoses of heart disease (National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2006).
  • About 11% of U.S. adults have ever been told by a doctor or other health professional they had heart disease (National Health Interview Survey, 2007).
  • About one in six Americans aged 20 years and over has elevated blood pressure and one in four has hypertension (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004).