From 1999 to 2014, the proportion of adults with hypertension who were unaware of their condition declined 46 percent, according to a database analysis.
The researchers found that 15.9 percent of adults with hypertension from 2011 to 2014 and 29.5 percent of adults with hypertension from 1999 to 2002 were unaware of their condition.
The National Center for Health Statistics released the report on April 26.
The authors analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a cross-sectional survey that assesses the health and nutritional status of U.S. residents who are not institutionalized.
They defined hypertension as a mean systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher, a mean diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher or a person indicating they are using a medication to lower their blood pressure.
During the 2011 to 2014 time period, 19.2 percent of men and 12.9 percent of women with hypertension were unaware that they had high blood pressure. Meanwhile, 30.8 percent of adults between 18 and 39 years old, 17.4 percent of adults between 40 and 59 years old and 12.5 percent of adults who were 60 or older were unaware they had hypertension. Since 1999, the percentage of adults with hypertension who were unaware of their condition significantly declined for all age categories.
In addition, 14.7 percent of non-Hispanic black adults, 14.9 percent of non-Hispanic white adults, 20.2 percent of Hispanic adults and 24.7 percent of non-Hispanic Asian adults were unaware they had hypertension.
Further, 29.7 percent of adults with health insurance and 14.4 percent of adults without health insurance were unaware they had hypertension. The percentages did not vary much based on income or education level. The only significant difference was between people with incomes at or above 400 percent of the federal poverty level (17.8 percent were unaware) and people with incomes from 100 percent to 199 percent of the federal poverty level (13.5 percent).
The report’s authors were Ryne Paulose-Ram, PhD, Qiuping Gu, MD, PhD, and Brian Kit, MD, MPH, all of whom work for the National Center for Health Statistics’ division of health and nutrition examination surveys.
“Controlling high blood pressure is important to prevent various health complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease,” the authors wrote. “Diagnosis and awareness of hypertension are essential to blood pressure management and control.”