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One in Four Americans Treated for Hypertension

AHRQ News and Numbers, September 28, 2011

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

One in four American adults (55.1 million) was treated in 2008 for hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The Federal agency also reported that for hypertension treatment in 2008:

  • About 29 percent of Blacks were treated for hypertension in contrast to 25 percent of Whites, 15 percent of Hispanics, and 20 percent of individuals of other races.
  • Total expenses were $47.3 billion, with $21.3 billion spent on prescription medicines; $13 billion spent on doctors' office and outpatient visits; and another $13 billion spent for hospitalizations, emergency department visits and home health care.
  • Average treatment costs were higher for Hispanic patients ($1,272) and for Black patients ($1,037) and patients of other races ($1,211) in contrast to the average treatment costs for Whites ($748).
  • The percentage with reported treatment for hypertension was higher for adults age 65 years and older (60 percent) than those in the younger age groups, 45 to 64 years (32 percent) and 18 to 44 years (5 percent).
  • Slightly more women received treatment for hypertension than men, 25 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Statistical Brief #337: Expenditures for Treatment of Hypertension among Adults Age 18 and Older, 2008: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population.

For additional information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Linwood Norman at or call (301) 427-1248. For information on preventing heart attacks and strokes, read about the Million Hearts initiative.

Current as of September 2011
Internet Citation: One in Four Americans Treated for Hypertension: AHRQ News and Numbers, September 28, 2011. September 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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