High Blood Pressure Education Month: A Look at Hypertension Prevalence Around the World
The staggering statistics surrounding the prevalence of high blood pressure, or hypertension, around the world underscore the urgency of tackling this expensive and deadly condition. A report published last year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shed light on the global environment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and delved into hypertension’s role as a risk factor.According to the report, uncontrolled hypertension is the number one attributable risk factor for CVD and the most expensive component of CVD to treat.
Worldwide, approximately 40 percent of people over the age of 25 have the condition. In the U.S., one in three adults—about 68 million Americans—is living with high blood pressure. When it comes to price tag, it's estimated that high blood pressure costs the U.S. $51 billion per year. Even more sobering is the fact that more than half of people with hypertension do not have it under control since there are often no warning signs.
Elevated blood pressure (systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg) is also a growing concern. In 2008, there were approximately one billion people with elevated blood pressure, up from 600 million in 1980. Approximately 51 percent of stroke deaths and 45 percent of coronary heart disease deaths are the result of elevated blood pressure.
In honor of High Blood Pressure Education Month, stakeholders across the country are addressing ways to reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure and its detrimental effects. In early May, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (IT) and the Million Hearts® initiative teamed up to showcase how health IT is being used to improve patient care and reduce the number of people with hypertension, as well as high cholesterol, two leading causes of heart disease and stroke. For example, electronic health records that include clinical decision support and physician reminder have improved how blood pressure is treated and controlled.Leveraging technology also helps patients successfully make lifestyle changes. CardioSmart has developed numerous resources to help patients control their risk factors and get on a path to heart health. To help patients keep track of their numbers and control sodium intake, CardioSmart is running the May Blood Pressure Challenge using a blood pressure tracker tool that’s available on CardioSource.org. Since medication is a common hypertension treatment option, the CardioSmart Med Reminder , a free mobile app that also functions as a personal medication record, is a useful tool for improving medication adherence. Finally, CardioSmart’s Living with High Blood Pressure interactive guide educates, motivates and supports patients who are navigating the condition.
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