Discrepancies Exist in National Hypertension Estimates

National estimates of hypertension vary between 4 and 19 percent among young adults

THURSDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Estimates from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), Wave IV, indicate that hypertension among young adults may be much higher than previously thought based on the 2007 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), according to a study published online May 23 in Epidemiology.

Quynh C. Nguyen, from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health in Chapel Hill, and colleagues compared hypertension estimates of 15,701 participants aged 24 to 32 years who participated in Add Health with those from participants in the 2007 to 2008 NHANES. Blood pressure (BP) was measured after participants rested in a seated position for five minutes. Discordances in hypertension were analyzed and used to estimate the accuracy and reliability of blood pressure in the Add Health study.

The investigators found that hypertension rates (BP ≥140/90 mm Hg) were higher in Add Health compared with NHANES (19 versus 4 percent). Self-reported hypertension history was similar (11 versus 9 percent). Adjustments made for differences in participant characteristics; examination time; use of antihypertensive agents; and consumption of food, caffeine, and cigarettes before BP measurement had limited effect on the discrepancies in hypertension estimates. BP was similar among Add Health participants who were interviewed twice, as was BP at the in-home and in-clinic examinations conducted by NHANES III (1988 to 1994).

"The prevalence of hypertension among Add Health Wave IV participants indicates a high risk of cardiovascular disease among U.S. young adults and warrants further scrutiny by other investigators," the authors write.

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