CDC Report Highlights Missed Opportunities in Treating Hypertension

Nearly one-in-three American adults have high blood pressure and more than half of them don't have it under control, according to a report released on Sept. 4 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, hypertension contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths each day and costs the nation almost $131 billion annually in direct health care costs.

The latest Vital Signs report finds that the majority of people with hypertension are being treated with medication, yet their condition is not under control. Millions more are either aware they have the condition but aren't getting any treatment, or they don't know they have high blood pressure at all.

"These missed opportunities in treating uncontrolled high blood pressure are affecting the lives of 36 million Americans," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. "Clearly, there's a need for increased focus and collaboration among patients, health care providers and within health care systems to improve blood pressure control."

Among the report's key recommendations:

  • The use of electronic health records and patient registries within health care systems to identify patients at risk and track their progress and adherence over time.
  • Implementation of a team-based approach to patient care among health care providers as a way to provide support, follow-up care, manage medicines and help patients stick to a blood pressure control plan.
  • Increased education of patients about "their numbers" and the need for important lifestyle changes such as eating a low sodium diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.
Additional Resources

The report also highlights the importance of initiatives like Million Hearts in helping to shed light on the importance of blood pressure management as a key component of heart disease and stroke prevention. Million Hearts, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, is a large-scale public/private initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. The ACC has partnered with the initiative since its inception and is using the PINNACLE Registry and CardioSmart resources to help reach patients and providers.

"The CDC report underscores the importance of working with patients to manage hypertension," said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. "The College is proud to be partnering with the CDC on initiatives like Million Hearts to raise awareness about managing this condition and other risk factors in order to prevent coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke."

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