When it comes to hypertension, men and women of King County are below the state and national average of those afflicted with the disease, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
The new study found that one in five Americans is unaware that he or she is at risk for the second leading cause of premature death: high blood pressure. Southeastern U.S. states were found to have the highest levels of hypertension, while Colorado had the lowest levels.
In King County, for instance, the hypertension rate among men was 32.3 percent, compared to the national average of 38.5 percent. For women, the rate in King County was found to be 33.7 percent as compared to the national average of 38.1 percent.
IHME analyzed hypertension data by county, sex, and race for adults over age 30 in the U.S. from 2001 to 2009. Across U.S. counties, the median rate of hypertension prevalence for men in 2009 was 37.6 percent and county-level rates ranged from 26.5 percent in Eagle County, Colo., to 54.4 percent in Holmes County, Miss.
Researchers also found significant regional disparities in hypertension treatment and control:
- Texas had some of the highest disparities among counties in treatment levels for both men and women. In the capital of the Lone Star State, male Austin County residents had a prevalence rate of 37.8 percent. Further east toward the Louisiana border, the prevalence rate in Anderson and St. Augustine counties was over 42.6 percent.
- California had treatment levels below the national averages for both men and women while Florida had rates of uncontrolled hypertension for both sexes that were higher than the national averages.
- Counties in four states accounted for the 10 highest rates of hypertension prevalence – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi – but the percentage of people in those states whose hypertension was being treated or was controlled increased between 2001 and 2009.
In addition to geographic disparities, the study also found disparities due to gender and race. Black men and women had the highest total prevalence of hypertension, at 50.2 and 54.4 percent, respectively. Prevalence rates for Hispanic men were 38.1 percent and 42.6 percent for Hispanic women.
In King County, 44.1 percent of African-American men were found to have hypertension, while 47.1 percent of African-American women were afflicted.