CHICAGO – With one in three American adults living with high blood pressure and at increased risk of heart attack and stroke, the American Medical Association (AMA) is joining the American Heart Association (AHA) to increase public awareness of this silent killer. In conjunction with World Hypertension Day tomorrow, the AMA is supporting the Know Your Numbers campaign to encourage more patients to monitor their blood pressure levels and take the necessary steps to get their high blood pressure—or hypertension—under control.
“Heart disease not only has a devastating impact on patients and their families, but it also creates an enormous financial ripple effect across the entire health care system,” said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. “On World Hypertension Day, the AMA continues to focus on the millions of Americans who have uncontrolled hypertension. We know that by empowering more patients to monitor and control their blood pressure, we will help improve health outcomes for patients and reduce health care costs.”
In 2016, the AMA and AHA launched the Target: BP™ initiative to address the growing burden of high blood pressure in the United States. The initiative aims to reduce the number of Americans who die from heart attacks and strokes by urging physician practices, health systems and patients to prioritize blood pressure control and increase the national blood pressure control rate from 54 to 70 percent or higher. Evidence shows that a 10-percent increase in the number of people treated for hypertension would prevent 14,000 deaths each year — a greater impact than any other clinical intervention.
Among the 85 million American adults with high blood pressure, nearly half—or 45.6 percent—do not have it under control, despite the fact that hypertension can usually be treated. Additionally, approximately 20 percent of all people with high blood pressure in the U.S. are unaware they have the symptomless condition—placing them at higher risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke. High blood pressure is also associated with significant economic impact, costing Americans an estimated $46 billion annually in healthcare services, medications and missed days of work.
The AMA has long recognized high blood pressure as a major health threat and has developed online tools to help people understand and control their risks for high blood pressure. Improving the health of the nation is a top priority for the AMA and we will continue to further our efforts aimed at reducing the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.