Over 80 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. That’s nearly 1 in 3 Americans, and half of those with high blood pressure do not have it under control. The American Heart Association (AHA) recently began a nationwide initiative to lower blood pressure through their program Target: BP to help further monitor patients with hypertension.
The American Heart Association and American Medical Association teamed up to create a program called Target:BP. It helps doctors better track patients’ blood pressure through online tools and scientific resources.
The program allows doctors to input a patient’s information such as medications, diet, and other possible habits into their system. Based on the patient’s recorded information, providers can assess if they are receiving the proper care for their blood pressure.
The amount of patient support that Target: BP offers is what is truly gaining attention from centers like Lone Star Circle of Care, who has roughly 71,000 with health issues that need additional help.
Target: BP is an incredibly needed nationwide initiative to lower blood pressure. With it, patients are offered help outside of the doctor’s office. It offers reading and videos to help patients understand about blood pressure medications, reading blood pressure levels, and more.
Tracy Angelocci, M.D., Lone Star Circle of Care’s chief medical information officer stated that “[Providing patients with] continued mentoring, support and a social network of other hypertensive patients — we really think that’s the key to driving behavior change.”
She is hopeful, despite not having sufficient results from the program, that Target: BP will help to lower blood pressure and increase patient’s understanding of how to control it.
As previously mentioned, half of those with high blood pressure do not have it under control. If that continues to go unchanged, the rate of heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks could rise or remain a serious health issue in America.
Health Choice Network, a network of 27 community health centers, announced that it will enroll over 635,000 hypertension patients in Target: BP. This addition will help to push Target: BP to gain more recognition and gather more data regarding the effectiveness of the program.
In 2013, Kaiser Permanente conducted a study to see if a uniform attack on high blood pressure control across a large region would help to lower blood pressure. They found that a program implemented in Norther California in 2001 saw hypertension control rates go from 44% to 80%.
If that is any foreshadow of the new nationwide initiative to lower blood pressure that is Target: BP, the findings a decade or even a few years from now, look promising.
Having this tool for healthcare providers to help lower blood pressure could be the big step that could create change in cardiovascular health across the country.
The best way to avoid high blood pressure, in general, is to eat a balanced diet with low sodium and sugar, exercise regularly, and visit your doctor regularly.