Sectors and Strategies

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Control Hypertension

Collage of people in different healthcare settings.

Millions of people who have high blood pressure do not have it under control. Control is possible, but little progress has been made in the past 10 years.

Some population groups also have higher rates of disease and death associated with high blood pressure, which creates health disparities across communities, and programs and interventions likely require tailoring to increase effectiveness.

We know that high blood pressure can be controlled to reduce health risks.

Many different groups will need to come together to support the use of proven strategies in every community and for every population group. High blood pressure control must be a national priority.

Individuals

A man holding his two children.

How You Can Help

If you have high blood pressure, you can take action to control this condition and improve your health. But changing your lifestyle can be hard, barriers are plentiful, and you will need support. This support can come from your family, friends, and other members of your community.

You can also get help from a health care team that includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and other types of health care professionals. All of these people can support your journey to make changes to your lifestyle or take medications that can help you reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Federal Government

A female federal government worker.

How You Can Help

The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. The agency fulfills this mission by providing effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.

As a federal agency, you can support HHS’s efforts to improve high blood pressure control in the United States. You can work with partners across multiple sectors, including public health, health care, business, government, and academia. You can also support and help expand actions like the ones recommended here, many of which are already in progress.

State and Local Governments

A group of male and female state government officials.

How You Can Help

As a state or local government agency or representative, you can play an important role in protecting and improving the health of your residents. You can support efforts to improve high blood pressure control across the country by working with multiple sectors. For example, you can work with clinical and public health partners to focus on population groups with the greatest need. You can also help build diverse public and private partnerships to coordinate the efforts of multiple groups, prevent duplication, and use resources efficiently.

Public Health Professionals

A female public health professional.

How You Can Help

As a public health professional, you and the organizations you work for are in a unique position to help improve high blood pressure control. For example, you can help bring together partners from multiple sectors to address this public health problem at federal, state, and local levels. You can also share data to show what works and promote the use of effective strategies.

Health Care Professionals

A male health care professional.

How You Can Help

As a health care professional, you see many patients with high blood pressure who do not have this condition under control. You can help improve high blood pressure control in the United States by identifying populations at highest risk and highlighting the resources needed in the communities you serve. You can also share your firsthand knowledge about the problems associated with uncontrolled high blood pressure.

To ensure that the care you provide is cost-effective, evidence-based, and focused on achieving control across all populations, you can commit to following the most current clinical guidelines for patient care and high blood pressure control.

Professional Associations and Societies

A female professional.

How You Can Help

Improving high blood pressure control in the United States will require support from the public health and health care communities. Members of public health and health care professional associations and societies can help by working to change policies, systems, and environments that make it hard for people to control their high blood pressure.

As a professional association or society, you can play a key role in calling attention to the problems associated with uncontrolled high blood pressure, including negative health outcomes and disparities in certain populations. You can also share information, provide training, and mobilize your members to support policy changes.

Health Care Practices, Health Centers, and Health Systems

A male health professional.

How You Can Help

Clinical settings are the place where most people with high blood pressure are diagnosed. To help improve high blood pressure control in the United States, your health care practice, health center, or health system can commit to delivering patient care services in ways that have been proven to work. For example, you can use multidisciplinary care teams to ensure comprehensive care, as well as protocols to standardize patient care. You can also use high-quality data to track and encourage high performance among your health care professionals.

Health Plans and Managed Care Organizations

Two female health plan employees.

How You Can Help

More than 65% of the U.S. population is covered by private health insurance. For insurance companies, there are short-term costs associated with treatments and interventions designed to improve high blood pressure control among their beneficiaries. Examples include antihypertensive medications, home blood pressure monitors, and approved lifestyle programs.

But over time, these treatments and interventions reduce the risk and costs associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. These costs include hospitalization for a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, as well as care services related to cardiac rehabilitation or management of end-stage kidney disease.

Employers and Health Plan Purchasers

A female business owner.

How You Can Help

In the United States, more than 150 million full-time workers spend more than one-third of their day, 5 days a week, at their workplace or working remotely. For employers and individuals who purchase health plans, there are short-term costs associated with treatments and interventions designed to improve high blood pressure control. Examples include antihypertensive medications, home blood pressure monitors, and approved lifestyle programs.

But over time, these treatments and interventions reduce the risk and costs associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. These costs include hospitalization for a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, as well as care services related to cardiac rehabilitation or management of end-stage kidney disease. They also include costs associated with employees who are less productive or miss work because of illness.

Academic Institutions and Researchers

A female academic professional.

How You Can Help

Your university or school helps to train scientific and medical researchers who can expand our knowledge of what works to control high blood pressure. Because national progress in high blood pressure control has stalled in the last decade, more research is needed to understand what interventions are most effective for a variety of populations and to identify the best way to implement them.

Training programs in medicine, nursing, and pharmacy regularly integrate blood pressure assessment and related management into their curriculum. However, reinforcement of appropriate and effective activities is useful. In addition, expanded training using a variety of research methods is likely needed, including quality improvement and population health management techniques.

Community Organizations, Public-Private Partnerships, and Foundations

Two female community organization members.

How You Can Help

A wide variety of partners—including health advocacy, minority-serving, and faith-based organizations—are needed to help make high blood pressure control a national priority. As a member of these organizations and partnerships, you can support funding at national, state, and local levels for policies and programs that have been proven to work.

You can also help ensure that the scientific findings and resources developed by other sectors are translated into actions that serve the unique needs of your communities. Lessons learned and best practices must be widely shared. Interventions must also take into account the limited resources and competing priorities of local communities and health systems.

Partner Toolkit

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Call to Action

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Disclaimer

Website addresses of nonfederal organizations are provided solely as a service to our readers. Provision of an address does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the federal government, and none should be inferred.