According to new guidelines being published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), high blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for systolic blood pressure or 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement. As the first update to the U.S. guidelines for blood pressure detection and treatment since 2003, these new measurements are intended to encourage earlier detection, prevention and management of high blood pressure.
While estimates are that high blood pressure diagnoses will rise by 14%, the hope is that the vast majority will be counseled about lifestyle changes rather than receiving prescribed medication. Often referred to as the “silent killer” because there are no symptoms, high blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking.
In America today, nearly one in three adults has high blood pressure, with fewer than half having the disease under control. If you’re an employer wondering why you should care, consider these facts:
- High blood pressure is one of the 10 most expensive conditions impacting U.S. employers.
- People with high blood pressure miss up to 4 more work days than those without a chronic condition.
- More than 35 million physician office visits are attributed to high blood pressure each year, with some of these visits requiring time away from work.
To have a positive impact on the overall health of your workforce and lower costs associated with high blood pressure, consider the following steps…
Education – 20% of Americans don’t realize they have high blood pressure, so raise awareness by providing screenings. National High Blood Pressure Month, in May of 2016, may be the perfect time.
Healthy Eating – Support healthier eating by offering low-sodium snacks in office vending machines.
Get People Moving – If possible, encourage those participating in small group meetings to walk and talk rather than sitting. If standing or treadmill desks are feasible in your workplace, consider adding a few and see how things go.
There are many ways to address hypertension in your business. Regardless of how your company chooses to proceed, people will benefit and so will your bottom line.