(HealthDay News) – Among adults in 17 countries of varying incomes, only about half with hypertension are aware of the diagnosis, and among those treated, only about a third achieve blood pressure control, according to a study published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Clara K. Chow, PhD, from Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University in Canada, and colleagues examined hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control in 142,042 adults (35–70 years old) from 17 high-income, upper-middle-income, low-middle-income, and low-income countries.

The researchers found that 40.8% had hypertension, and of these, 46.5% were aware of the diagnosis. Among those who were aware of their hypertension, 87.5% were being treated pharmacologically, but only 32.5% of those treated had blood pressure control. Low-income countries had the lowest number of patients aware and treated, at 40.8% and 31.7%, respectively. Among low-income countries, hypertension awareness, treatment, and control were significantly higher in urban compared with rural areas. Low education was associated with lower awareness, treatment, and control only in low-income countries.

“These findings suggest substantial room for improvement in hypertension diagnosis and treatment,” Chow and colleagues conclude.

The study was partly funded through unrestricted grants from several pharmaceutical companies.

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