WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 7, 2020—American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement in response to today’s release of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Control Hypertension. The call to action highlights that hypertension control is a national priority that requires optimizing patient care and building community supports.

“This essential report calls critical attention to the epidemic of uncontrolled blood pressure, which puts 87 million adults nationwide at elevated risk of heart attack or stroke. We stand ready to work with Vice Admiral Adams, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its National Hypertension Control Roundtable, and public health and health care providers across the country to implement this call to action and prevent countless cases of cardiovascular disease.

“Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure — and many don’t even know it. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of all cases of high blood pressure are uncontrolled, and Black people are disproportionately impacted. After years of improvement, overall rates of blood pressure control have declined in recent years, with rates in 2017-2018 matching those of 2005-2006. High blood pressure damages arteries throughout the body, creating conditions that can cause heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Controlling high blood pressure is critical to reducing one’s chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

“The American Heart Association has made blood pressure control a top priority for improving public health. Today’s call to action references updated hypertension guidelines the AHA and the American College of Cardiology issued in 2017 that apply the latest science to help clinicians work with patients to control their blood pressure. Earlier this year, the AHA and the American Medical Association (AMA) published a policy statement emphasizing the established clinical benefits and potential cost-effectiveness of self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) over blood pressure monitoring conducted in a medical office. The statement recommended improvements in patient education, provider training and insurance coverage for broader implementation of self-measured blood pressure. To ensure access to blood pressure monitoring for those who would considerably benefit from it, we urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other insurance providers to include coverage of SMBP devices for treatment and management of hypertension.

“Our partnership with the AMA through Target: BP is improving blood pressure control rates within health care organizations and care teams. Accurate, consistent blood pressure measurement is an important aspect of Target: BP. To this end, the AHA and AMA have co-developed a 30-minute e-Learning course — Achieving Accuracy: BP Measurement — because accurate BP measurements ensure the best therapies to achieve blood pressure control.

“While great progress has been made over the past few decades, hypertension remains a leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States. America must effectively address high blood pressure. The volunteers and staff of the American Heart Association are grateful to the Surgeon General for calling attention to controlling high blood pressure in our country and look forward to working collaboratively to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives.”

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

​Suzette Harris: Suzette.Harris@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

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