To reduce and treat increasing rates of high blood pressure in the US, healthcare providers need to raise their efforts to support healthier eating, lowered sodium consumption and increased physical activity, a new report has said.
High blood pressure causes more than a third of heart attacks and almost half of heart failures in the US each year, according to the report from the Institute of Medicine.
According to the institute, policies that create healthy environments will offer greater promise of reducing the high hypertension rate than merely educating individuals about the dangers of high blood pressure.
Lack of physician adherence to treatment guidelines for hypertension is also highlighted as a significant reason why many patients are unaware of their condition and do not have it under control.
Public health officials should also work with health insurance plans to reduce or eliminate deductibles and co-payments for anti-hypertensive drugs to improve patients’ compliance with treatment regimens.
The report calls for the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention to work with partners to promote policies that make people to engage in regular physical activity, cut calories, and reduce salt intake.
Nearly a third of US adults have high blood pressure, and it accounts for about one in six adult deaths annually, a 25% increase from 1995 to 2005, the report said.