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Friday, September 7, 2012

High blood pressure is out of control for too many Americans and Minnesotans

About one-quarter of Minnesotans have high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a nationwide concern and a costly health problem. Almost 67 million American adults have high blood pressure, and half of them do not have it under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and Minnesota.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday released a report finding that nearly one in three adults (67 million) has high blood pressure and of those about half (36 million) have uncontrolled blood pressure. High blood pressure is defined as having systolic blood pressure (top number) greater than or equal to 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) greater than or equal to 90 mmHg.

The latest CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (pdf) did not include Minnesota specific numbers. However, data from a separate national survey released in August found that 26 percent of adult Minnesotans report being told that they had high blood pressure, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

As for treatment of the disease, in 2010 about 75 percent of Minnesotans aged 18-85 who received a diagnosis of hypertension and received treatment in a clinic had their blood pressure adequately controlled after diagnosis, according to Minnesota Community Measurement. This is an improvement upon Minnesota's 2008 rate of 69 percent.

"Though we're doing better than national averages in terms of preventing high blood pressure and treating it, we are really encouraging people to “know their numbers" and seek treatment in order to avoid a disabling stroke, heart attack, or even death," said Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health.

The Department of Health is combating high blood pressure by improving the quality of care in clinics and by encouraging healthy communities and healthy living. Minnesota has embraced team-based care in its clinics, which according to the CDC report, is one successful approach to controlling high blood pressure. In 2008, Minnesota passed legislation allowing primary care clinics to voluntarily be certified as health care homes, which is a team-based clinical model that is particularly effective for caring for patients with diseases such as high blood pressure. With this approach, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, dieticians, and community health workers can work together to identify and treat high blood pressure. About 2 million Minnesotans now receive care at certified health care homes.

In addition, the Minnesota Department of Health is combating high blood pressure by promoting changes in communities that promote healthy living, such as adding walking and biking paths, opening farmers markets, and adding smoking restrictions. The department also addresses high blood pressure with worksite initiatives that focus on helping employees “know their numbers." The goal is to make the healthy choice the easy choice, so Minnesotans can lower their risk of developing high blood pressure by eating fruits and vegetables, consuming less salt, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.

To learn more about high blood pressure in Minnesota visit, the MDH blood pressure page or Minnesota's state plan to combat heart disease and stroke. To learn more about national efforts, visit Controlling high blood pressure is also a key component of Million Hearts ™, a national initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017


For more information, contact:
Scott Smith
MDH Communications

James Peacock
Disease & Stroke Prevention Unit
651 201-5405

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