Research Shows Increase of Americans with Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure

September 14, 2020
MHE Staff
MHE Staff

The American Medical Association and American Heart Association reaffirm commitment to working together to equip physicians and all Americans, particularly communities of color, with resources to lower blood pressure rates across the country.

The latest research published in JAMA showing a greater proportion of Americans, particularly communities of color, were living with uncontrolled high blood pressure in 2017-2018 than previously is extremely troublesome, according to President of the American Medical Association (AMA), Susan R. Bailey, MD and President of American Heart Association (AHA), Mitchell S.V. Elkind, MD, MS, FAAN, FAHA.

Despite the fact that there is more scientific evidence than ever before pointing to the devastating effects of uncontrolled high blood pressure, as well as broader access to low-cost generic medications to treat the condition, blood pressure control has worsened. Without intervention, more people will be at high-risk of heart attack, stroke, disability and death, both presidents say.

This research reinforces the need for all healthcare providers and their patients to prioritize blood pressure control, especially now as cardiovascular disease places people at greater risk for adverse outcomes associated with COVID-19, they say. The data also highlights the need for each association to address upstream factors, including structural racism, that continue to contribute to the greater prevalence of hypertension and lower rates of blood pressure control among Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous populations compared to White adults, each added.

According to both presidents, the AMA and AHA will continue to build on their collective work to ensure physicians and all Americans, especially those within underrepresented and under-resourced communities, have the health care access and support they need to control high blood pressure and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the United States.

Recognizing high blood pressure is a major health threat to patients, the AMA developed a framework for improving blood pressure control, with online resources to make it easier for physicians and care teams to access the latest evidence-based information and they need to help manage their patients’ high blood pressure. 

These resources are available to all physicians and health systems via the AMA website as part of the AMA and AHA’s joint Target: BP™ initiative—a national program launched in 2016 aimed at reducing the number of Americans who die from heart attacks and strokes each year by urging physician practices, health systems and patients to prioritize blood pressure control.

Additionally, earlier this year, the AMA and AHA teamed up with a group of national healthcare organizations and ESSENCE on the Release the Pressure campaign to advocate for improved heart health with Black women.