Contagious Conversations: Hypertension: Handling the Pressure


Doctors have long known that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Yet today, nearly half of all adults in the United States have hypertension, creating a silent public health threat.  

In the latest episode of our Contagious Conversations podcast, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jerome Adams and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to discuss the importance of hypertension control. Dr. Adams is a former U.S. Surgeon General of the United States and now serves as the executive director of Purdue University’s Health Equity Initiatives. Dr. Emanuel is vice provost for global initiatives and the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  
In this episode, the doctors discussed the risks posed by hypertension, the steps we can all take to stay healthy and approaches to making hypertension control a national health priority.  
“What gives me hope is that we know that even in some of the most difficult populations and situations, we have examples of success if we just make it a priority,” said Dr. Adams. “That is the most important thing. We need to make it a priority for employers, for businesses, for governments, for communities.” 
Both doctors highlighted not only the far-reaching health implications of hypertension, but also the collective and consistent effort it will take to address these threats, prevent a further rise in cases and help those currently suffering from hypertension to control their condition. While there are many challenges, the goal is reachable. 
“We know these are not intractable problems, and we know that there are groups and municipalities that have done a fantastic job,” Dr. Emanuel said. “And I think Dr. Adams has said a key word: concerted effort. It can't just be a one-off.” 

I encourage everyone to tune in to this conversation on the impact of hypertension control and learn more about how we can better prevent and manage hypertension in our society.  

Judy Monroe
Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.