Statement by the American Society of Hypertension on the Institute of Medicine’s Population-Based
Policy and Systems Change Approach to Prevent and Control Hypertension
In deeming hypertension a neglected disease, the Institute of Medicine’s report is the catalyst to focus the necessary resources to effectively combat this public health crisis.
As the largest U.S. organization dedicated exclusively to hypertension and related cardiovascular disease, the American Society of Hypertension joins in IOM’s call to identify and implement the policies and interventions necessary to prevent and control hypertension and associated health problems.
Impacting nearly one in three adults, hypertension is a leading cause of death and an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. While the causes of hypertension are identifiable and modifiable, the resources needed to address them have been largely underfunded.
The IOM report echoes ASH’s Position Paper: Dietary Approaches to Lower Blood Pressure, released in July 2009, which outlines several factors that affect hypertension: weight loss, reduced salt intake, increased potassium intake, moderation of alcohol, improved dietary patterns and a focus on special populations.
ASH has taken several, but important steps to address this public health crisis by facilitating scientific research and communications to healthcare providers and patients. ASH’s Designated Specialist program certifies doctors as Hypertension Specialists enabling them to care for higher-risk patients in every community. The following website is easily accessible to all physicians who are having difficulty in achieving blood pressure goals.
In tandem with its annual scientific meeting and symposia, ASH conducts professional education programs, as well as screens thousands of high-risk people for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes. Its focus is on people with inadequate access to healthcare and connecting them with treatment centers in their area.
Only through a collaborative effort between the government, public health organizations, industry, including the insurance industry, and the medical community, will we be able to construct public health strategies and interventions that will help us ultimately achieve our vision of achieving blood pressure control for most people and eliminating its consequences.