Hospital visits related to uncontrolled blood pressure are on the rise, study finds

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Experts say the hospitalizations are linked to both lifestyle and medical factors

A new study conducted by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center revealed that hospital visits related to high blood pressure have been increasing over the last decade. According to their findings, more consumers are going to the hospital for hypertensive crises, which increase the risk for a heart attack or stroke. 

“Although more people have been able to manage their blood pressure over the last few years, we’re not seeing this improvement translate into fewer hospitalizations for hypertensive care,” said researcher Dr. Joseph E. Ebinger. “We need more research to understand why this is happening and how clinicians can help patients stay out of the hospital.” 

Gender plays a role in blood pressure health

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the National Inpatient Sample between 2002 and 2014. They tracked hospitalizations across the country and evaluated the frequency with which consumers were seeking emergency care due to blood pressure concerns. 

Over the course of the study, there were nearly 920,000 people admitted into hospitals for hypertension concerns. However, the researchers found that the number of hospitalizations for blood pressure issues more than doubled between 2002 and 2014. 

The team explained that several factors could come into play here. For instance, lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, and exercise can all negatively impact consumers’ heart health and blood pressure levels. Additionally, though many consumers take medication to maintain healthy blood pressure levels, if they aren’t taking the proper dosage or if their finances have prevented them from obtaining the drugs, they may have a higher risk for complications. 

The researchers found that men were more likely to be hospitalized for blood pressure concerns than women. However, the researchers learned that the mortality rate of these cases was similar for both groups. This means hypertension may pose a greater risk for women’s long-term health.

“These findings raise the question: Are there sex-specific biologic mechanisms that place women at a greater risk for dying during a hypertensive crisis?” said researcher Dr. Susan Cheng. “By understanding these processes, we could prevent more deaths among women.” 

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