Higher Odds of Hypertension Seen in Older Women, Younger Men

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New research presented at the AHA Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2021 showed that men aged 20 to 49 years and women 70 and older both had a greater risk of hypertension.

According to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2021, women aged 70 and older and men aged 20 to 49 years were more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension, even if taking blood pressure­–lowering medications.

The AHA said nearly half of US adults have hypertension, a condition that increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and other health conditions.

Researchers used health information from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1999 to 2018 to compare the prevalence of hypertension among different groups. The study included 13,253 participants 20 years and older who were taking prescription medications to treat hypertension. The average age was 57 years, 52% of participants were women, and 71% were non-Hispanic white.


They compared rates of uncontrolled hypertension in men and women, stratified by age, using 2 definitions of high blood pressure:

  • Above 140/90 mm Hg (2014 Joint National Commission guideline)
  • Above 130/80 mm Hg (2017 AHA/American College of Cardiology guideline)

The study found that according to criteria from the guidelines, there were similar odds of uncontrolled hypertension and more than one-third (34%) of participants had uncontrolled hypertension, even if on medication for it.

The following results were seen following the investigators’ analysis:

  • Men aged 20 to 29 years had 59% higher odds of uncontrolled hypertension compared with women in the same age group
  • In the 30-to-39-year age range, men were 70% more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension than women
  • In the 40-to-49-year age range, men were 47% more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension than women
  • Both men and women aged 50 to 69 years had similar odds of uncontrolled hypertension
  • Among participants aged 70 to 79 years and 80 years and older, women had 29% and 63% greater risk, respectively, for uncontrolled hypertension vs men

“These results indicate that women 70 years and older and men less than 50 years with hypertension may have increased risk of uncontrolled hypertension and may benefit from more frequent blood pressure monitoring,” said study author Aayush Visaria, MD, MPH, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rutgers University. “In general, there is a need to increase awareness about uncontrolled hypertension among older women and younger men, and further studies need to be done to understand the reasons behind this phenomenon.”

She added that these findings show how high blood pressure is a major public health challenge that still impacts individuals being treated.


Older women, younger men more likely to have uncontrolled blood pressure. News release. American Heart Association. September 27, 2021. Accessed October 1, 2021.