Rates of Hypertension Vary Across State, Report Finds
South Los Angeles, Compton and Antelope Valley have some of the highest rates of hypertension among residents ages 45 and older in the state, while Santa Monica, Culver City and Beverly Hills have some of the lowest, according to a report released Monday by the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report, based on data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey, was funded by a grant from the California Endowment.
Researchers found that, statewide, about 38% of residents ages 45 and older reported being diagnosed with high blood pressure. Overall, about 25% of California residents with hypertension -- or one million people -- live in Los Angeles County. In communities such as Compton, Lynwood and Paramount, 48% of people ages 45 and older have been diagnosed with high blood pressure at some point in their lives. In Merced and Tulare counties, 46% and 45% of adults, respectively, reported having high blood pressure.
By contrast, about 30% of people in that age group in coastal areas from Malibu to Westchester have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, according to the report.
According to Carolyn Mendez-Luck, a UCLA senior researcher, the different rates of hypertension among communities and counties is due in part to the fact that areas with large concentrations of African-American and elderly residents -- two groups in which high blood pressure is relatively common -- tend of have more people with high blood pressure.
"This is the first time we have examined hypertension rates at the sub-county level, and the findings are helpful in understanding the burden of the condition in local communities across California," Mendez-Luck said.
She added that the findings of the report could aid policymakers in targeting education, screening and treatment efforts, as well as improving access to recreation areas and healthy food (Sanchez, Los Angeles Times, 11/27). The report is available online. Note: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.