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High Blood Pressure Still Places Millions of U.S. Adults at Risk

CDC researchers find some ethnic and regional groups have lower adherence to taking blood pressure medication than others.


 

As many as 5 million older Americans are at risk because they aren’t taking their blood pressure medicine properly, according to a Vital Signs report.

CDC researchers analyzed data from more than 18.5 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare with Part D prescription drug coverage during 2014. Among their findings:

  • Seven out of 10 adults aged 65 and older have high blood pressure, but nearly half don’t have it under control.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks, and Hispanics are more likely to not take their blood pressure medicine as directed.
  • Southern U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands had the highest overall rates of not taking medicine as directed.North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had the highest rates of adherence.

The CDC gave examples of how health care systems and providers can help:

  • Simplify blood pressure treatments by offering 90-day refills and combination medicines, coordinating pill refills for the same date, and prescribing generic medicines.
  • Involve the whole health care team at several points of care to ensure patients are taking medicine as directed, answer questions, and provide counseling.
  • Encourage the use of home blood pressure monitors and easy-to-use tools, such as mobile apps to track and share readings.

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