Hypertension unchecked among uninsured

April 1, 2011

Adults without health insurance are more likely to have undiagnosed hypercholesterolemia and hypertension than those with health insurance

NON-ELDERLY ADULTS without health insurance are far more likely to have undiagnosed-and consequently uncontrolled-hypercholesterolemia and hypertension than those with health insurance, according to a new analysis of Centers for Disease Control data.

"The analysis is really just one more indication of the many ways lack of health insurance is harmful to a person's health," says Andrew Wilper, MD, a professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Washington, who has conducted similar studies in the past.

The latest research, based on 2005-2008 data from the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found uninsured adults between the ages of 20 and 64 were about twice as likely to suffer from undiagnosed hypercholesterolemia or hypertension as their insured peers. In addition to interviews conducted in participants' homes, the NHANES survey includes standardized physical examinations conducted in mobile examination centers and laboratory tests utilizing blood and urine specimens provided by participants, which enable researchers to identify individuals with previously undiagnosed conditions.