City's Hypertension Rates Lower Than Rest of U.S.

Despite New York City’s reputation as a pressure cooker, its residents have less hypertension than the rest of the country. That’s according to a new study published by the Health Department. But as WNYC’s Fred Mogul reports, officials say the study also highlights the need to do more.

REPORTER: You might expect the city to have higher rates of hypertension, because it has much larger proportions of two groups prone to high blood pressure: African-Americans and people living below the poverty line. But, in fact, about 25 percent of New Yorkers have hypertension, compared to about 30 percent nationwide. And about 33 percent of blacks here have it, compared with almost 40 percent across the country.

The researchers aren’t sure why there might be lower levels here, but, even so, they say there still are too many local people with hypertension, a leading risk factor for heart attacks. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden says just under half of those with high blood pressure are treating it, even though medication is considered relatively safe and affordable. For WNYC, I’m Fred Mogul.