Blood Pressure Control Is Possible

Nearly one in three Americans have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. However, only half of those have it under control and are at risk of having heart disease or stroke.

Now in its third year, the Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Challenge is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

The campaign brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, and federal-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.

Originally developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human and Services, the Million Hearts® campaign is a challenge designed to identify practices, clinicians and health systems that have successfully worked with patients to reduce high blood pressure and improve heart health.

Campaign tactics involve the promotion of the “ABCS” of clinical prevention – appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation – as well as promoting healthier lifestyles and better-equipped communities.

“Controlling blood pressure prevents heart attacks and stroke and saves lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., and M.P.H in a press release.

Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States with heart disease being responsible for one of every four deaths in the country.

Not only is high blood pressure dangerous to your health, but also it may increase the amount of money you pay for health and life insurance.

Healthy blood pressure levels are largely dependent on your gender and age, and most life insurance companies have levels they consider acceptable and other levels they consider preferred, which may qualify you for discounted rate.

“Providers and health care systems that focus on improving hypertension control with their patients get great results,” Frieden said. “It’s important that we recognize those providers and patients that have been successful and learn from them. We are delighted to spotlight these success stories and best practices and encourage others to follow their lead.”

To enter the challenge, entrants must provide information about their practice, share verifiable high blood pressure control data and describe how use of health information technology and community involvement contributed to success.

The deadline to submit a nomination is before midnight on Oct. 10, 2014.

In the 2013 challenge, nine public and private practices and health systems across the country were recognized as Hypertension Control Champions for success in achieving high blood pressure control rates higher than the Million Hearts® goal of 70 percent.

Together, they cared for more than 8.3 million adults patients, and represented small and large, urban and rural, and private and federal health practices and systems.

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