(HealthDay News) — Doctors wait longer to prescribe blood pressure medications to young adults than to older patients, according to a study published online recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health analyzed data from more than 10,000 people aged 18 who visited a large Midwestern practice from 2008 to 2011. Doctors were 44 percent slower in starting patients aged ≥18–39 on high blood pressure medications than they were for patients aged ≥60. 

The researchers found that the prescribing rates were slowest for young adults who were white, male, not on Medicaid, and not regular clinic visitors. The prescribing rate for men was 36% slower than for women, and slower among whites than among patients in other racial/ethnic groups. They also found that patients with diabetes in all age groups were prescribed high blood pressure medications 56% faster than other patients.

“Even with regular primary care contact and continued elevated blood pressure, young adults had slower rates of antihypertensive medication initiation than middle-aged and older adults,” study leader Heather Johnson, MD, said in a journal news release.

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