The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Tuesday stating:
- 36 million Americans have high blood pressure, even after taking medication to control it;
- This equates to nearly 1 in 6 Americans;
- It puts these people at 3 to 4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke;
- Contributes to 1,000 deaths in the US each day;
- And causes $131 billion in healthcare costs
What is “Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure”?
The CDC defines uncontrolled high blood pressure as having a systolic or top reading, of 140 or more and have a diastolic or bottom reading, of 90 or more. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the second biggest health concern, following behind smoking, according to CDC Director Thomas Frieden.
According to the Boston Globe, the CDC recently reviewed data collected from 22,000 Americans who participated in government surveys from 2003 to 2010 to analyze why high blood pressure is not controlled better. The data revealed 85 percent of those with poorly managed high blood pressure did have health insurance and went for medical check-ups in the previous year.
So why do so many people suffer from uncontrolled high blood pressure? According to Frieden, many patients are using medications that are not working, while other patients receive multiple high blood pressure readings, but never receive a high blood pressure diagnosis based on their medical records.
Lower the Numbers
So how does the CDC recommend lowering the numbers associated with uncontrolled high blood pressure? Electronic databases like those used at Kaiser Permanente is one avenue physicians and hospitals are using. Kaiser Permanente is an integrated health system of about 9 million patients that is located outside Massachusetts. With their electronic databases, Kaiser Permanente has alleviated uncontrolled high blood pressure in 80 to 85 percent of their patients. The database records medical records electronically and flags those patients with high blood pressure for follow up.
Additionally, Frieden and the CDC recommend more communication between doctors, pharmacists and patients. Some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, like ACE inhibitors, can cost upwards of $100, making it hard for some patients to afford. Many times patients may not be receiving the right combination of drugs or do not take the drugs correctly. The CDC recommends that doctors coordinate more with pharmacists to ensure that patients are receiving appropriate instructions when picking up their prescriptions.
This past week the CDC embarked on a new campaign called “team up pressure down” in hopes of getting pharmacists more involved in helping to manage hypertension, or high blood pressure, in patients. The campaign will provide fact-sheets about hypertension and instructions on dealing with hypertension to pharmacists to hand out to patients when patients pick up their prescriptions.
Many times, individuals suffering from high blood pressure are unable to work. Work can trigger stress, and if you have high blood pressure, this stress can increase your blood pressure leading you to suffer devastating consequences including a heart attack or stroke. Mounting medical bills and no source of income can also add to the stress. A Georgia or South Carolina Social Security disability lawyer at the Strom Law Firm can help you alleviate your financial stress. Our Social Security disability lawyers can help assist you in filing an initial application for benefits or help you file for reconsideration. We will help make the Social Security disability benefit process as stress-free as possible. Call us today or fill out a web form to see how we can help you. 803.252.4800.