Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be a severe health problem

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In a new study from Cedars-Sinai, researchers found the number of people hospitalized for a hypertensive crisis—when blood pressure increases so much it can cause a heart attack, stroke, or other sudden cardiovascular events—more than doubled from 2002 to 2014.

Although more people have been able to manage their blood pressure over the last few years, researchers do not see this improvement translate into fewer hospitalizations for hypertensive crises.

There could be various explanations for why a growing number of people are being hospitalized for dangerously high blood pressure.

It could be that an increasing number may be unable to afford medications to control hypertension or are seeing their blood pressure rise after taking inadequate doses of these drugs.

Socioeconomic factors may also make it difficult for people to avoid a high-salt diet, inactivity, smoking or other unhealthy behaviors that can contribute to hypertension.

These factors may include limited access to health care, financial insecurity, or work and family demands.

To conduct their study, the team analyzed data from the National Inpatient Sample, a publicly available database. The data include a subset of all hospitalizations across the U.S., providing a picture of nationwide trends.

They found that annual hospitalizations for hypertensive crises more than doubled over a 13-year period.

Hospitalizations related to hypertensive crises represented 0.17% of all admissions for men in 2002 but 0.39% in 2014.

Hospitalizations related to hypertensive crisis represented 0.16% of all admissions for women in 2002 but 0.34% in 2014.

The investigators estimated that from 2002 to 2014, there were 918,392 hospitalizations and 4,377 in-hospital deaths related to the hypertensive crisis across the U.S.

The risk of dying from a hypertensive crisis, however, did decrease slightly overall during the studied time period.

These findings raise the question: Are there sex-specific biologic mechanisms that place women at greater risk for dying during a hypertensive crisis?

By understanding these processes, doctors could prevent more deaths among women.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about food that could help control your waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar, and pain medicine for headache that could effectively reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about small habit that could greatly benefit people with slightly high blood pressure, cholesterol, and results showing that scientists find a safe and much more efficient way to treat high blood pressure.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and was conducted by Joseph E. Ebinger et al.

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