NPR reported yesterday that 78 million people in the United States have high blood pressure. That’s an incredible number of people with potential health risks. The really bad news is that half of them do not have their blood pressure under control. But there’s hope.
Dr. Alan Go of Kaiser Permanente, a health care insurer, led a program that started in 2001 in California. At the beginning, only 44 percent of patients had their blood pressure under control. By 2011, 87 percent controlled their blood pressure. It started with getting rid of copays for doctor visits to control high blood pressure because — well let’s face it– to get this problem under control takes more than a few visits to the doc. If you return five times for the same problem, you’ve coughed up about $150 — just in copays. That will raise the BP.
The Million Hearts campaign is trying to help all of us lower blood pressure. It encourages folks to sign up online and become part of the campaign that pledges to get 65 percent of folks to control their blood pressure by 2017. Currently, about 46 percent are controlling blood pressure. Read the NPR story here. Check some of the goals here.