Approximately five million Medicare Part D enrollees 65 years of age and older are not taking their blood pressure medications properly, increasing their risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and death, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
An estimated 70% of U.S. adults 65 years of age and older have high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or greater), but nearly half do not have their blood pressure under control. The report outlines the dangers of high blood pressure and the important role health care systems play in helping patients take blood pressure medications as directed.
The report analyzes data from more than 18.5 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage during 2014. Researchers at the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services looked at disparities in beneficiary adherence rates based on factors such as geography, race/ethnicity, gender, income status, and medication class.
Key findings include:
Health care systems—including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, community health workers, practices, hospitals, and insurers—can play a key role in improving blood pressure control nationwide, according to the CDC. The agency encourages health care systems to ensure that people understand the importance of blood pressure control and how taking blood pressure medications as directed, along with a healthy diet and exercise, reduces the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Source: CDC; September 13, 2016.