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National-scale higi study finds spike in hypertension amid guidelines change

At the recent American Heart Association Hypertension 2018 Scientific Sessions, Chicago-based population health company higi presented its analysis on a nearly 30% increase in Americans classified as having high blood pressure in the aftermath of new AHA and American College of Cardiology guidelines.

The guidelines, handed down in early 2017, classified high blood pressure as a measurement of 130/80 mmHg, a change from the previous 140/80 mmHg guidelines. In examining nearly 40 million blood pressure tests across higi’s network of more than 11,000 retail pharmacy and community-based health stations in 2017, the company found a 28.8% increase in patients with high blood pressure. This nearly doubled the rate of blood pressure nationally to 62.4% from 33.6%, higi said.

More populated, urban areas in high-income communities saw the greatest increases, according to higi’s analysis, which also found that less populated, lower-income areas still had higher incidences of high blood pressure readings.

“High blood pressure readings are widely prevalent across all population centers, impacting a diverse subset of communities and cohorts,” said higi co-founder and chief medical officer Khan Siddiqui. “While blood pressure risk may still be greatest in disadvantaged populations, occurrence is spreading to include communities deemed more healthy and with higher incomes, making prioritization and risk stratification for providers and payers more challenging.”

The new blood pressure guidelines were implemented in May 2017 by higi, which said doing so allows consumers to see how their blood pressure measures up against the new standards, and receive information about next steps based on their degree of hypertension.
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