September 5, 2012
CDC Finds Uncontrolled Hypertension Among Adults
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, which accounts to a whopping 67 million who are diagnosed with the condition in the U.S. Additionally, more than half of those people (36 million) do not have control of their high blood pressure. These shocking statistics were recently provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to a recent Vital Signs report from the government agency, the majority of people who have high blood pressure are seeing a doctor at least two times a years and have medication for the condition. However, millions of others are not aware that they have high blood pressure and are not being given medication to treat the condition.
High blood pressure is a concern because it is can cause heart disease and stroke, which are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the U.S. Those who have high blood pressure have blood pressure that is more than or equal to 140/90 mm- Hg. USA Today describes high blood pressure as causing the blood to flow through the body´s arteries with too much force, putting pressure on the arteries causing them to stretch past a healthy limit and leaving microscopic tears.
The uptick in the condition can cause financial difficulties as well, with direct health care costs amounting to almost $131 billion each year.
“We have to roll up our sleeves and make blood pressure control a priority every day, with every patient, at every doctor´s visit,” remarked Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC Director, in a prepared statement. “With increased focus and collaboration among patients, health care providers and health care systems, we can help 10 million Americans´ blood pressure come into control in the next five years.”
The CDC recommends that community health workers, dieticians, pharmacists and nurses work together with doctors in diagnosing and treating patients who have high blood pressure. Patients will be given better support, follow-up care and medicine management, among other benefits. These individuals should also be advised on various lifestyle changes that can be made, such as exercising, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods and not smoking.
The Million Hearts initiative is one program that seeks to reduce hypertension. The program was created by the federal government to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. According to Med Page Today, the government hopes to help 10 million people control their hypertension.
“Too many Americans have uncontrolled high blood pressure which is a serious health risk. There are many opportunities for people with high blood pressure to gain control. Doctors, nurses, other health care providers and their patients must pay regular and frequent attention to controlling high blood pressure,” commented Amy Valderrama, a Registered Nurse, in a statement on the CDC website.
Another program, Team Up Pressure Down, has been launched by the CDC in partnership with the U.S. Surgeon General. The program focuses on providing pharmacists helpful tools to help manage their patients´ blood pressure. Patients also need to take their medication when prescribed.
"A lot of patients skip their medications occasionally because they forget or get busy. Or they may think the medications have side effects and don't take them for that reason. Or they may not think they can afford them," concluded Dr. Gina Lundberg, a cardiologist with Emory Healthcare, in a USA Today article.