Hypertension in the US
- The progress in understanding the importance of elevated blood pressure over the past 60 years was recently summarized by some of the foremost experts in the field.1 Much of the early information came from the Framingham Heart Study─ a landmark cohort study that evaluated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk for the first time.
- Launched in 1949, this study followed 5209 subjects initially aged 30-59 years. Blood pressure readings for each subject were taken at two year intervals for a period of 14 years and the findings dispelled several myths that existed then and shared by some even today.1 One such myth was “ The greatest danger to a man with blood pressure lies in its discovery because some fool may try to treat it.”2
- The first key finding from the study was that both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) are key markers of cardiovascular risk, especially stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks.1
- Decreased blood pressure was associated with a lower cardiovascular risk throughout the continuum of recorded blood pressure values. In low-risk subjects without cardiovascular risk factors, lower DBPs were associated with lower cardiovascular risk.
- One in three (33.3%) Americans >20 years of age (74 million) has hypertension with marked differences by ethnicity and gender. The blacks have the highest prevalence (44% men and women) whites have the intermediate prevalence (34% men and 30% women) and Mexican Americans have the lowest prevalence (23% men and 30% women).3
1. Turnbull F., Pascal Kengne A, MacMahon S. Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease: tracing the steps from Framingham. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. Jul-Aug 2010;53(1):39-44.
2. Moser M. Historical perspectives on the management of hypertension. Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn. Aug 2006;8(8 Suppl 2):15-20; quiz 39.
3. American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Statistical Update2010.