Objective: To assess the current levels of awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in England and to determine the number and type of drugs prescribed.
Design: A cross-sectional household-based survey of English adults.
Subjects: A random sample from the adult English population of 12,116 adults who participated in the 1994 Health Survey for England.
Main outcome measures: Prevalences of treatment hypertension, awareness and control.
Results: Using a definition of hypertension as a systolic blood pressure > or = 160 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure > or = 95 mmHg, or a patient's being administered antihypertensive treatment, the prevalence of awareness of hypertension was 63%. Among hypertensives, 50% were receiving treatment and 30% had their hypertension controlled (< 160 mmHg/95 mmHg). Awareness, treatment and control rates are considerably lower than the most recently reported rates from the USA. Diuretics and beta-blockers remain the most common antihypertensive agents used in England.
Conclusion: There is considerable scope for improving the treatment and control of hypertension in the English adult population.