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More U.S. adults have hypertension

BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- As U.S. adults have gotten fatter, there has been an increase in hypertension and more awareness of the causes of high blood pressure, researchers said.

Comparing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-94 and the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found the age-standardized prevalence hypertension rate increased from 24.4 percent to 28.9 percent, with the largest increases among non-Hispanic women.

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Depending on gender and race/ethnicity, from one-fifth to four-fifths of the increase could be accounted for by increasing weight, said first author Jeffrey A. Cutler of the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Among those with high blood pressure, there were modest increases in awareness 68.5 percent to 71.8 percent -- the rate for men increased from 61.6 percent to 69.3 percent, but for women it did not change significantly. Improvements in treatment increased from 53.1 percent to 61.4 percent and control rates were higher, 26.1 percent to 35.1 percent.

The greatest increases occurred among non-Hispanic white men and non-Hispanic blacks.

The findings are published in the Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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