(SALT LAKE CITY) – Today, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) published the July 2012 Utah Health Status Report, which ranked high blood pressure, or hypertension, as the second most costly chronic disease in the state. The annual costs to treat high blood pressure in Utah total an average of more than $111 million.
“Nearly 1 in 4 Utah adults have high blood pressure,” said Athena Carolan, Health Specialist with the UDOH Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (HDSPP). “It’s considered the silent killer because it creates no obvious health symptoms, but often leads to heart attacks and strokes.”
Safe and effective treatments are readily available for those diagnosed with high blood pressure; however, more than one-third (36.3%) of all Utah health plan enrollees do not have the condition “under control,” meaning a systolic blood pressure below 140 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure below 90.
Utah HDSPP works with partners to increase awareness of high blood pressure treatment guidelines and improve patient follow-up.
“By partnering with health systems, worksites, and community groups, we work as a team to raise awareness and lower costs,” Carolan said. “It’s also critical that individuals talk to their doctors about how to improve their blood pressure through lifestyle changes, like losing weight, eating less salt, exercising more, and giving up smoking.”
For more information about blood pressure or HDSPP, visit www.hearthighway.org.
Health Program Specialist