CDC launches initiative to control hypertension

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge, an initiative that recognizes physician practices that achieve hypertension control rates of 70 percent or higher.

Of the 70 million adults in the U.S. with high blood pressure, approximately half have it under control, according to the CDC. In 2013, high blood pressure was associated with more than 360,000 deaths in the U.S.

The Million Hearts Hypertension Challenge is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Million Hearts initiative that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The Million Hearts initiative began in 2012.

“A growing number of public and private practices and systems are using evidence-based strategies to detect, connect and control high blood pressure,” Million Hearts executive director Janet S. Wright, MD, said in a news release. “This challenge is a way to find and celebrate these high performers and help others replicate their success. By excelling in hypertension control, Champions are helping prevent events and improving heart health across the country.”

Practices interested in entering the challenge must submit their information by Oct. 31 and include details on their practice and blood pressure control data. They are also required to how they used health information technology to keep blood pressure under control.

The Million Hearts campaign is also focusing on reducing smoking and sodium intake and eliminating trans fat intake. Each year in the U.S., there are 122,000 deaths related to heart attacks and 130,000 deaths related to strokes. Together, heart attacks and strokes account for $315.4 billion in annual direct and indirect costs.