Getting Blood Pressure Under Control
Many missed opportunities to prevent heart disease and
1 in 3
Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 67 million) have high blood
About 36 million adults with high blood pressure don’t have it
High blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths a
Controlling blood pressure has to be a
Why is blood pressure control so important to
When your blood pressure is high:
- You are 4 times more likely to die from a
- You are 3 times more likely to die from heart
Even blood pressure that is slightly high can put you at greater
Most people with uncontrolled high blood pressure:
- Know they have high blood pressure
- See their doctor
- Take prescribed medicine
Each of these is important, but there is much more to do. What’s
needed now is for doctors, nurses and their patients to pay regular
and frequent attention to controlling blood pressure.
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Federal government is:
- Joining with the private sector in leading the national Million Hearts™ initiative
to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
- Working with pharmacists on activities to provide education and
counseling to patients with high blood pressure.
- Focusing on the importance of high blood pressure as a
Leading Health Indicator.
- Measuring progress against the specific objectives in
Healthy People 2020.
Health care systems
where patients are seen and treated can:
- Start having doctors, nurses, and others review patient
records, looking for patients who need more attention to control
their high blood pressure.
- Create system-wide targets using Healthy People 2020 objectives
to achieve blood pressure control.
- Update staff monthly on progress and give feedback on success
- Make it easier for patients to stay on medicines:
- Consider 90-day refills for prescriptions
- Consider no or lower co-payments for medicines
Doctors, nurses and others who
treat patients can:
- Flag and monitor patients with high blood pressure or who are
at-risk. Report progress on patients using
National Quality Forum (NQF) 0018.
- Counsel patients to take their medicines and make lifestyle
changes. Follow their progress.
- Regularly evaluate the blood pressure medicines they take to
determine whether these need to be changed.
- Address every blood pressure reading that is high by talking
with the patient about taking prescribed medicines, adjusting
current medicines and/or encouraging lifestyle changes. Consider
once-a-day doses of medicines when possible.
- Take prescribed medicines each day and follow the directions on
the bottle. If your blood pressure is still not under control or if
you have side effects, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist
about possibly changing your medicine.
- Work to maintain a healthy weight and meet the Physical
Activity Guidelines for Americans.
- Follow a heart healthy eating plan with foods lower in
- Get help to stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
- Measure and write down your blood pressure readings between
doctor’s visits. This can be done at home, at a grocery store or at
- Keep your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health care
provider informed of your blood pressure readings that you take at