(HealthDay News) — For U.S. Hispanics/Latinos, treatment and control of hypertension is inadequate, especially among those without health insurance, according to a study published online March 12 in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Paul D. Sorlie, PhD, from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues describe the prevalence of hypertension in diverse Hispanic/Latino background groups. A cohort of 16,415 Hispanics/Latinos from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, aged 18–74 years, underwent extensive measurements at baseline (2008–2011) and completed questionnaires related to cardiovascular diseases.

The researchers found that in this cohort the total age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension was 25.5%, compared with 27.4% in non-Hispanic whites participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Increasing age was associated with increasing prevalence of hypertension. Hypertension prevalence was highest in Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican background groups. Compared with U.S. non-Hispanic whites with hypertension, the percent of Hispanics with hypertension who were aware, being treated with medication, or had their hypertension controlled was lower. These rates were lowest in those without health insurance.

“Given the relative ease of identification of hypertension and the availability of low-cost medications, enabling better access to diagnostic and treatment services should reduce the burden of hypertension in Hispanic populations,” the authors write.

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