New Guidelines By The American Heart Association Redefine High Blood Pressure: What Does It Mean For Employers?

The American Heart Association published a new definition for high blood pressure after intensive research; hypertension is now defined as 130/80 instead of 140/90. The number of Americans with high blood pressure grew from 72 million to 103 million.

What drove this change?

A Sprint study found that patients who reduced their blood pressure below 120/80 decreased their chances of heart disease by one-third. The AHA committee decided not to use such a strict definition and settled on 130/80 as a recommendation.

What should you do about it as an employer?

1. Educate your clinical team. Ensure your clinical team is aware of the new guidelines. The new goal for controlled blood pressure is 130/80 which influences medication dosage and diagnosis of hypertension.

2. Include all employees with hypertension in your heart health programs. If you have programs for hypertension management, expand them to include people with a blood pressure of 130/80. Since these employees have high heart risk, you should see a similar ROI to the population with a blood pressure of 140/90.

3. Actively act to prevent heart disease. Hypertension is the main driver of cardiovascular disease - the biggest cost factor for employers and the #1 cause of death. Create a culture of awareness and provide your at-risk employees tools to manage and improve their heart health.

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