Epidemiology of Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease
Hypertension is the most common chronic medical disorder in the
United States. According to JNC 7 criteria, more than 65 million
Americans have hypertension and an additional 25% of the population
has prehypertension. 1 Despite its vast prevalence, hypertension
remains highly under recognized with a full 30% of patients
unaware that they have the condition.
In developed societies, blood pressure increases with age.
Diastolic BP plateaus in the fifth decade and may decline thereafter
but systolic BP continues to rise steadily through the seventh
decade. The Framingham Heart Study estimated the 20-year risk
of developing hypertension as >90% for normotensive men and
women of middle age (55–65 years of age). 2 Among Americans
over age 65, more than half have isolated systolic or combined