(HealthDay)—According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two-thirds (64 percent) of people with high blood pressure had the condition under control during 2012, the latest year for which figures are available. The report is published in the Feb. 14 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The agency defined controlled blood pressure as readings at or below 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg. The report is based on 2012 data from the nationwide Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, which covers more than 113 million Americans enrolled in a range of health care plans. The CDC report found there were "modest" improvements in how many Americans got their high blood pressure under control, compared to 2010. However, rates varied widely by region, with the southeastern "Stroke Belt" states lagging behind.
For example, while more than 68 percent of people reporting to the HHS' San Francisco data center had their blood pressure under control, that number dropped to just 59.5 percent for people reporting to the Atlanta or Dallas centers, the CDC said.
"Hypertension is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease and as a medical community it is imperative that we aggressively screen and treat those patients with high blood pressure," Suzanne Steinbaum, M.D., preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay. "Not only do we need to implement awareness campaigns for the patients, but hold the physicians to clinical standards of treatment," she said. "It is crucial that these goals are met in order for us to save lives, and prevent Americans from suffering from heart disease and strokes."