HealthDay News —  More than half of U.S. adults with hypertension have uncontrolled BP, despite the fact that the majority have health insurance and a usual source of health care, the CDC reports.

This encompasses an estimated 35.8 million U.S. adults, according to Amy Valderrama, PhD, of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and colleagues — a concerning figure, as uncontrolled BP  elevates the risk for CVD and mortality associated with hypertension, the researchers warned in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

To better understand the prevalence of hypertension awareness and treatment among adults with uncontrolled hypertension, Valderrama and colleagues analyzed data from 20,811 adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003 to 2010.

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The researchers found that, among U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, the overall prevalence of hypertension was 30.4%, which corresponds to approximately 66.9 million individuals.

Among those with hypertension, an estimated 53.5% —  or 35.8 million — did not have their condition under control. This included 39.4% who were unaware of their hypertension; 15.8% who were aware of their hypertension, but were untreated; and 44.8% who were aware of their hypertension and had uncontrolled hypertension despite receiving treatment.

The majority of patients with uncontrolled hypertension reported that they had access to care, with 87.7% having  received medical care in the year prior, 89.4% reporting a usual source of care and 85.2% having health insurance.

This represents, “a missed opportunity for hypertension control,” the researchers wrote. They added that improving BP control “will require an expanded effort and increased focus on hypertension from patients, healthcare systems and clinicians.”

Hypertension is associated with $131 billion in healthcare costs each year and contributes to about 1,000 deaths a day, CDC director Thomas Freiden, MD, MPH, said during a press conference that coincided with the study’s publication.

To help reduce hypertension-associated costs and mortality, the federal government has launched the Million Hearts Initiative, which aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, and increase the number of people whose hypertension is under control by 10 million, according to Frieden.

In addition, the U.S. Surgeon General has announced a new program, “Team Up, Pressure Down” to provide pharmacists with the tools they need to help patients adequately manage their BP.


  1. Valderrama A et al “Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults — United States, 2003-2010” MMWR. 2012; 61: 1-7.