Hypertension Management Study: High Blood Pressure is Managed Beter in the U.S. Than in Europe

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A new U.S. study published in the January 22,2007, issue of the trade journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, finds that physicians in the U.S. are managing high blood pressure better than physicians in Europe.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago, Temple University and Stanford University. Their findings include the fact the physicians in the U.S. tend to start treatment for elevated blood pressure sooner and more aggressively than those in European countries.

Despite this, better management does not necessarily mean that patients have achieved optimum blood pressure levels. Management, according to the study, was defined as being less than 140/90. Fewer than two-thirds of the patients studied had blood pressures which met optimum guidelines of their respective country. Optimum blood pressure has been adjusted downward in the last deaced and is usually below 130/80.

In this study, researchers analyzed clinic visits made by 21,000 hypertensive patients.
  • 63 percent of the U.S. patients had their blood pressure under control (less than 140/90).

Of the European patients:

  • 31 percent in Italy were under control;
  • 36 percent in the UK;
  • 40 percent in Spain and Germany
  • and in France, 46 percent achieved control.

American physicians were found to start treatment earlier and to be more aggressive. They made adjustments to medications much more readily than did their European counterparts. Of the U.S. patients found to be inadequately controlled, 32 percent received a change in their medications. This compared with 14 to 26 percent of the European patients with inadequate control.

If you have high blood pressure, take your medications as directed and follow dietary and exercise guidlines carefully. Discuss with your physician whether you have met optimum management. If not, you need to advocate for a change in treatment to improve your health status and avoid complications of high blood pressure such as heart attack and stroke.

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