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Number of Americans Unaware of Their Hypertension Drops by Half

The number of people in the United States who are unaware they have hypertension has dropped almost by half (46%) since 1999–2002, according to a new report released today by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the latest report, covering 2011–2014, 15.9% of adults with high blood pressure were not aware they had it. In 1999–2002 that number was 29.5%.

Unawareness among adults with hypertension was defined as answering "no" to the question, "Have you ever been told by a doctor or health professional that you had hypertension, also called high blood pressure?"

More men than women were unaware of their status (19.2% vs 12.9%) and more younger people (aged 18–39) were unaware than older people (aged >60) (30.8% vs 12.5%).

And those with health insurance were almost twice as likely to know their status: 14.4% were unaware vs 29.7% of the uninsured.

Levels of income or education seemed to have little effect, the authors write. The only significant difference was observed between those with incomes at 100%–199% of the federal poverty level (13.5% unaware) and those at or above 400% of the federal poverty level (17.8%).