CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, and about half of them don

CDC Study Again Calls Attention to Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure

About 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, and about half of them don't have it under control, raising their risk of stroke and heart attack, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden reiterated Sept. 13.

A new study published in CDC's Vital Signs finds that about 70 percent of U.S. adults age 65 or older have high blood pressure, but only about half of them have it under control (less than 140/90), which puts the half who aren't controlled it at risk of heart disease, stroke, and early death. The study evaluated Medicare Part D enrollees older than 65 and found the rates of those not taking their blood pressure medicine is higher among certain racial/ethnic groups and those living in the "stroke belt" states that are generally in the South.

"The fact is that high blood pressure is a leading killer in the United States," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH, adding that uncontrolled high blood pressure also may be connected with cognitive decline in older adults and is the leading cause of stroke. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to test it, and the only way for most people to reduce their high blood pressure is to take medication -- but not enough Americans with this problem are doing that, he stressed.

"Seventy-five million Americans have it. About half of this group don't have it under control," he said. About 1 in 6 people with high blood pressure aren't even aware of it. “Controlling is extremely important and can be done simply and cost effectively" through the use of medications that are available in low-cost formulations, Frieden added. "Critically, medications will be necessary for the vast major of people with high blood pressure. But they only work if they're taken."

The study found that more than 1 in 4 people in the study population, about 5 million people, weren't taking their blood pressure medication as directed. And Frieden said up to 25 percent of new prescripts for blood pressure medicine aren't filled in the first place.

"The results of this silent killer are heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and many other health problems," he said, adding that, if residents of the "stroke belt" states with high blood pressure had rates of control comparable to those of residents of states in the upper Midwest, more than 1 million more people would be taking their medications as directed.

"Although this doesn't often get headlines, it is crucially important. . . . There's a reason it is called the 'silent killer.' . . . Everyone needs to understand how crucially important medicines to control high blood pressure are," he said.

A few years ago, he said, CDC looked at what would be the single intervention that would protect the most lives in the country and decided it was blood pressure control. Discussing solutions, he said physicians and the entire health care team, including pharmacists, have a critical role to play in solving this problem, and that reducing co-pays as much as possible is important because any co-pay will reduce medication use, even by patients who are not resource constrained. He cited federal government efforts that include the Million Hearts initiative, which seeks to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Download Center

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Incident Investigations Guide

    If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.

  • Lone Worker Guide

    Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, download this informative guide.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Download the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • The Basics of Incident Investigations Webinar

    Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more. 

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2022

    November December 2022

    Featuring:

    • IH: GAS DETECTION
      The Evolution of Gas Detection
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Enhance Your Fall Protection Program with Technology
    • 90TH ANNIVERSARY
      The Future: How Safety WIll Continue to Evolve
    View This Issue