As part of its mission to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, in Blacks and other minorities, the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) is pleased to announce our commitment to the National Hypertension Control Roundtable® (NHCR) as a founding member. The NHCR is a public, private and non-profit partnership dedicated to improving national hypertension control rates from ~50% to 80% and reducing disparities in hypertension control by 2025.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, poses a serious and significant public health risk to our society. This condition currently affects one in three U.S. adults, and data indicate that hypertension rates are increasing among young adults.
“The prevalence of hypertension in Blacks in the U.S remains among the highest in the world according to the recent Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Report,” says Modele Ogunniyi, MD, MPH, a member of the interim leadership board representing the ABC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “National hypertension control rates remain unacceptably low, especially among underrepresented ethnic groups, who are at higher risk for complications arising from uncontrolled hypertension. To improve national hypertension control rates, these disparities must be addressed.”
The cost associated with hypertension in the U.S. is $51 billion annually, including $47.5 billion in medical expenditures. Although the burden and cost associated with hypertension are well documented, the national rate of hypertension control hovers around 50% with little to no improvement in the last decade. Controlling hypertension is critical to protecting our nation’s health – now and in the future – from heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.
“Hypertension is the most potent cardiovascular disease risk factor, especially in African Americans,” says Keith Ferdinand, MD, ABC Access to Care Initiative Chair and Gerald S. Berenson Endowed Chair in Preventive Cardiology at Tulane University School of Medicine. “ABC is dedicated to ensuring that all patients, regardless of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sex/gender or geography, have appropriate access to advances in care – newer pharmacotherapy and devices.”
One thing is clear, business as usual will not suffice. We must coordinate our efforts to find tangible, sustainable, innovative, and fiscally sound strategies to curb hypertension and the public health challenge it presents. We join CDC and other founding members in support of the roundtable objectives to bring coordination to these efforts. We look forward to working with the NHCR’s interim leadership and fellow founding members to spotlight the challenge of hypertension control.