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New Blood Pressure Initiative at CMC/DHK

January 29, 2013
Keene, NH

CMC/DHK approaching blood pressure control rates that equal best-practices nationwide

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in Cheshire County.  In harmony with Heart Health month this February, a new blood pressure initiative and care delivery model is being launched at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene (CMC/DHK) to prevent and effectively manage high blood pressure for patients.

New to all exam rooms will be wallet cards and brochures encouraging patients to have a discussion with their provider about effectively managing blood pressure. Tips on what to ask your doctor, how to maintain normal blood pressure, how to limit salt intake while dining out, and examples of building physical activity into your day are included in the 'Know Your Numbers' wallet card available for all patients and their family members to take home and use daily. 'High Blood Pressure and You' brochures, providing online resources and individual care plan suggestions, will also be available. Community partners such as Keene Family YMCA, Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services, area workplaces, etc. will also share the wallet cards to help build awareness for community members about the importance of monitoring blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and BMI in reaching and maintaining good health. By helping everyone to 'Know their Numbers' our providers and care staff are empowering patients to take ownership of their health. This is one more step we are taking together to become the healthiest community in the nation.

The integrated and evidence-supported approach for high blood pressure will now be the care all providers at CMC/DHK will deliver, including satellite locations and specialty departments. This is a result of months of work by an interdisciplinary team who reviewed best practices across the nation, developed tools for providers and patients, and who have set a goal of lowering blood pressure to less than 140/90 in at least 81% of all patients by June of 2013. Since 2010, CMC/DHK has steadily improved blood pressure control for our patients from approximately 69% to nearly 79% in November 2012. We are now within a few percent of matching the rates being recognized as best practice in the US, which is 80% or higher. Unfortunately, nationwide more than 50% of patients do not have their blood pressure under adequate control.

High blood pressure is the single most common chronic illness in the United States, affecting 50 million people, and it is estimated that more than ½ of people experiencing their first heart attack have uncontrolled hypertension. Of concern is that 30% of people with hypertension are unaware they even have the disease. In addition, pre-hypertension (>120/80 but <140/90) has been identified as an at-risk category. Those in the 130-139/85-89 mm Hg range have twice the risk of developing future high blood pressure. There are more than 23 million Americans in this especially high risk group. Effective prevention and treatment of high blood pressure lessens the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. To learn more about managing high blood pressure, visit www.cheshiremed.org/highbp.

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is a nonprofit community hospital and clinic with a mission to lead our community to become the nation's healthiest through our clinical and service excellence, collaboration, and compassion for every patient, every time. Founded by CMC/DHK, Vision 2020 is a community-wide health initiative designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the process of becoming the nation's healthiest community by 2020. To learn more, call 603-354-5400 or visit cheshiremed.org.

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