It’s High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

May is High Blood Pressure Education Month. How does high blood pressure raise costs and lower morale in your population?

High blood pressure — also known as hypertension — is a widespread health concern in America. Half of Americans live with it, but a third of those aren’t even aware they have it. When left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, creating significant cost risks for your organization.

High blood pressure is a pervasive health condition for Americans

Most people get their blood pressure taken during routine doctor’s visits. So why is high blood pressure such a risk? Hypertension is part of a much more complex network of diagnoses called cardiometabolic conditions.

These conditions typically start with insulin resistance, then can progress to metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes. If left unchecked, these diagnoses can result in cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. In fact, high blood pressure is actually one of the five risk factors for metabolic syndrome, making co-occurring conditions even more likely.

About 116 million people have high blood pressure: that’s almost half of the United States. In 2020, high blood pressure led to 670,000 deaths. Typically, providers will suggest lifestyle changes to manage symptoms, but sometimes those behavior changes aren’t enough.

Even with lifestyle modifications or medical intervention, almost 80% of people still don’t get their hypertension under control.  

The implications of an unseen health condition

On its own, hypertension has big implications for a person’s health. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is likely to co-occur with other cardiometabolic conditions, and people with hypertension are also likely to face mental health challenges, like anxiety. To make matters worse, people usually don’t show symptoms until it causes even more serious health problems. All together, these can have big impacts on personal wellbeing and care costs.

These quiet but costly effects like heart disease, stroke, or chronic kidney disease. Risk for hypertension is also higher for some minorities in the US. This makes it even more important for health leaders to provide resources for equitable care.

With the right tools, your population can take ownership of their health. Provider support, education, and management can improve quality of life, mitigates health spend risk, and saves lives.

How high blood pressure impacts people’s quality of life

Each year, hypertension healthcare costs about $131 billion. An individual with unmanaged hypertension sees about $2000 more in healthcare costs annually. Almost half of Americans have high blood pressure — diagnosed or not — so there’s no question hypertension impacts employers’ healthcare costs.

Some of the hardest-working people in your population could be at increased risk for high blood pressure. A recent study showed nearly 19% of office workers had sustained hypertension when working long hours.

Unregulated high blood pressure can have negative impacts on quality of life and in cost of care. Untreated, it can be deadly. When evaluating what resources are available to your people, consider the consequences of undiagnosed hypertension.

Studies have shown that health-related quality of life also decreases with long-term unregulated hypertension. An unhappy and unhealthy population can impact culture, care costs, and absenteeism.

While some people can manage their hypertension with at-home exercises and lifestyle adjustments, most people need medical interventions and professional support.

High Blood Pressure Education Month is a great opportunity to think about your care offerings

The good news for you and your people is that hypertension is a serious but manageable condition. With regular monitoring, lifestyle changes, and appropriate medication, people can manage their blood pressure and reduce the risks associated with this chronic disease.

For those living with hypertension, 1 in 5 only need a lifestyle adjustment to help get their condition under control. In fact, some studies predict that the right adjustment in care could save thousands of lives a year — with just a 10% increase in hypertension treatment. But what about the other 4 in 5 people with high blood pressure? This group needs more than just moderate lifestyle adjustments. Dedicated provider care and support is often necessary for people to see the best outcomes.

Member success with Vida: Jorge’s story

Jorge was a 57-year-old man living a sedentary lifestyle. He had chronic pain while living with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

Jorge didn’t know much about managing his blood pressure or diabetes when he first joined Vida. His coach helped him get more variety in his diet by trying new Vida recipes and logging his food in the app. Reading Vida’s fitness content inspired Jorge to start exercising regularly and progressively adding resistance training to his workouts.

After 6 months, Jorge saw great results. He stuck with his new habits and continued to challenge himself. He lost 22 pounds, lowered his A1C by 1.9 points, and saw a 20-point systolic reduction in his blood pressure.

Partner with Vida for a positive impact

The right cardiometabolic solution has a wide range of care options. Organizations working with Vida offer eligible members resources for managing their co-occurring conditions. These people are surrounded with care teams of qualified professionals — like physicians, registered dietitians, therapists, and health coaches.

Changing habits might seem intimidating, but it’s made possible through daily access to and continued support from care providers. Providers work with members to support and talk them through lifestyle changes.

With a human-led, tech-enabled approach, members receive personalized and intentional care. Care providers have lots of options they offer members, including Medical Nutrition Therapy and medications. They’ll move forward with interventions depending on a person’s needs.

Most Americans are at risk for — or already have — high blood pressure. Offering them the resources and care to improve their health can prevent medical emergencies, boost population health, and reduce overall costs. Take the next step this High Blood Pressure Education Month.

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