Seven out of 10 U.S. adults ages 65 and older have high blood pressure (140/90mmHg or higher), but nearly half do not have their blood pressure under control. The report outlines the dangers of high blood pressure and the important role health care systems play in helping patients take blood pressure medicines as directed.
"A simple action can avoid potentially deadly consequences: take your blood pressure medicine as prescribed," said
Disparities in taking blood pressure medicine as directed
The report analyzes data from more than 18.5 million people enrolled in
Key findings in the Vital Signs report include:
- About 5 million
Medicare Part Denrollees ages 65 or older are not taking their blood pressure medicine as directed. This means they may skip doses or stop taking it altogether.
- The percentage of
Medicare Part Denrollees not taking their blood pressure medicine is higher among certain racial/ethnic groups (American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic). This contributes to these groups' higher risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and death.
- There are also geographic differences.
Southern U.S.states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islandshave the highest overall rates of not taking blood-pressure medicines as directed. North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesotahave the highest rates of people who do take their medicine as directed.
Health care systems—including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, community health workers, practices, hospitals, and insurers—can play a key role in improving blood pressure control nationwide.
The federal government is also providing resources to all states and
Visit millionhearts.hhs.gov to read about Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. To learn how professionals and practices have controlled the blood pressure of at least 70 percent of their hypertensive patients, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/partners-progress/champions/index.html.
About Vital Signs
Vital Signs is a report that appears as part of the