How many individuals have their blood-pressure and cholesterol levels under control?
Less than one third!
Less than one in three patients in the US have their blood-pressure and cholesterol levels under control, according to a new analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Researchers say there exist significant opportunities for improving hypertension and cholesterol control.
People with high blood pressure have about double the risk of coronary heart disease, but treating hypertension only reduces heart attack risk by only 25%. It is important to treat and control both high blood pressure and cholesterol.
In the study, published online July 1, 2013 in Circulation, the researchers assessed concurrent hypertension and hypercholesterolemia control in NHANES 1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2004, and 2005 to 2010.
Across the three surveys, 60.7% to 64.3% of the individuals with hypertension also had high cholesterol levels.
The control of LDL-cholesterol levels increased over time, up from 9.2% in 1988-1994 to 45.4% in 2005-2010.
In 2005-2010, approximately 54% of all hypertensive patients had good blood-pressure control, defined as <140/90 mm Hg. In total, 21.5% of all hypertensive patients were treated and uncontrolled.
For patients with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels, the concomitant control of both risk factors increased approximately sixfold from 1988-1994 to 2005-2010. The control of blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol levels increased from 5.0% in 1988-1994 to 30.7% in 2005-2010.
“What we find is that while there has been a lot of progress in controlling both blood pressure and cholesterol, still about 70% of patients who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol don’t have both risk factors controlled,” said Egan, the lead author of the study.