Adults with high blood pressure spend more on healthcare than their non-hypertensive peers, according to recent study.
Based on the U.S. prevalence of hypertension, researchers estimate the national adjusted annual cost for the adult population with high blood pressure to be $131 billion higher compared to those without the disease.
It is important to note that this twelve-year study was done using previous hypertension guidelines - which defined high blood pressure as 140/90 mm Hg or higher. In 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology lowered the definition of high blood pressure to 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
For this study, researchers used 2003-2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data that included 224,920 adults, of whom 36.9 percent had high blood pressure, to measure trends and calculate estimated annual healthcare costs. Researchers adjusted for other medical reasons, such as a history of stroke or diabetes, that would contribute to their medical expenses.
Compared to patients without high blood pressure, those with high blood pressure had:
- 2.5 times the inpatient costs;
- almost double the outpatient costs; and
- nearly triple the prescription medication expenditures.
Although expenditures were higher for inpatient and outpatient care, over the course of the study period, the researchers observed a shift toward more cost in the outpatient setting than the inpatient setting, which may reflect a larger societal trend to try to bring care out of the hospital system and into locations that are more accessible to most patients, Kirkland said.
National statistics from the 2017 hypertension guidelines estimate that 46 percent of U.S. adults -- 103 million people -- have high blood pressure, but only about half of those have their blood pressure controlled despite improvements in diagnosing, treating and controlling hypertension.
The complete study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.