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Many US Hispanics Unaware of Their Hypertension

Update Date: Mar 13, 2014 08:09 PM EDT

Hispanics living in America are not properly treating their hypertension, according to a new study.

New research reveals that the Hispanic population, which is currently the largest minority group within the United States, is lacking recognition and control of their high blood pressure.

The latest study involved 16,400 individuals. The findings revealed that the prevalence of hypertension in the Hispanic community is nearly equal to that of non-Hispanic whites. However, the diagnosis of the disease and general awareness of its symptoms and treatment options are significantly lower.

"This is a landmark study," says Dr. Michael Alderman, Editor-in-Chief of  American Journal of Hypertension (AJH). "This is the first comprehensive data on the prevalence and awareness of hypertension within the US Hispanic community that also includes all of its diverse subgroups." 

Researchers said the latest study is hugely important because prevention and control of high blood pressure are imperative for reducing heart disease rates.

"Though the presence of hypertension in the Hispanic community is nearly equal that of non-Hispanic whites, awareness and diagnosis lag significantly behind, particularly in those individuals without health insurance," explained lead researcher Dr. Paul D. Sorlie of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). "Given the relative ease of identifying hypertension and the availability of low cost medications, enabling better access to diagnostic and treatment services should be prioritized to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease on Hispanic populations. This study gives us the information needed to support the development of policies that can improve this access and, subsequently, the overall health of countless US citizens."

The findings are published in the American Journal of Hypertension (AJH).

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