Despite proven treatments, blood pressure control is still a challenge in the United States.

Leading U.S. organizations have issued a joint advisory recommending that a collaborative approach can be more effective in fighting uncontrolled high blood pressure. The scientific advisory was issued by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blood pressure rates continue to grow with one in third Americans affected. Of those, about 75 percent are being treated, but only half have it controlled. The members of the organizations noted that nearly 90 percent of people with uncontrolled hypertension see a healthcare provider regularly, and 85 percent have health insurance.

They added that there is a need for: healthcare systems and providers to work in closer partnership with patients; local, regional and national programs that offer coordinated care using multiple resources and an evidence-based hypertension treatment algorithm to achieve better control in all patients; and a need to prioritize hypertensives who are receiving treatment, but haven’t achieved their targets.

“Despite access to health care, effective therapies that have been available for 50 years, and various education and quality improvement efforts that have been targeted at patients and healthcare providers, achieving success in hypertension control is still a challenge,” said Alan S. Go, M.D., Director of the Comprehensive Clinical Research Unit at Kaiser Permanente Northern California and advisory lead author. The authors say more needs to be done to educate patients and providers. Similarly, interventions targeting only physicians have not led to sufficiently consistent and meaningful improvements.

“The tools to control blood pressure have long been available, but hypertension control requires patient and physician involvement within a supportive system,” said John G. Harold, M.D., MACC, president of the American College of Cardiology. “We are advocating a team approach that reduces barriers for patients and leverages the power of electronic health records to improve cardiovascular health.”

The authors concluded that “arming healthcare providers, health systems, and communities with proven tools, algorithms, strategies, programs, and other best practices, along with expertise and technical assistance for improving blood pressure awareness, treatment and control is essential to reducing the tremendous burden of cardiovascular risk.”


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