Non-communicable diseases cause the most deaths worldwide. Despite having complex contributing factors, the most common and significant risk factor also is the least complex to address: high blood pressure. Hypertension affects nearly half of U.S. adults and more than 1.4 billion people worldwide, with significant racial and economic disparities. It is a contributing factor in vulnerability to COVID-19. Meanwhile, hypertension is relatively easy to diagnose and inexpensive to treat. Even small reductions in blood pressure can translate to significant health gains, offering remarkable cost-to-impact value.
We have proven, effective ways to close gaps in how blood pressure is measured and managed through three simple, evidence-based healthcare practices that are adoptable and sustainable in diverse settings. We are scaling these effective practices across the U.S., aiming to benefit 100 million patients. Improving hypertension control will directly result in millions of longer, healthier lives.
American Heart Association, Inc.website: http://www.heart.org
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In the COVID-19 pandemic, people with hypertension as a pre-existing condition have proven to be more vulnerable to severe illness and death from the virus. The prevalence of this risk factor among communities of color has contributed to the virus' inequitable impact on these communities. This tragic reality brought additional attention to hypertension.
In response, drawing from our initial proposal design, the American Heart Association collaborated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to launch a program that addresses racial and ethnic disparities in hypertension control in the U.S. The project supports 350 participating federally qualified health centers in nearly all 50 states by providing patient and provider education and training for effective hypertension control. Engaging local and national community-based organizations to drive patient awareness, care-seeking, and self-management is a core strategy.
In 2022, a new partnership with Bank of America and other key public health partners added support and scope to the work in 11 major city markets across the U.S.
While proud of these steps towards our original vision, the need and health disparities remain formidable. We continue to seek funding support to expand hypertension control to reach high-need populations in the United States beyond those served by participating clinics, and opportunities for further expanding solutions to address this pervasive yet preventable life-threatening condition.