What measurement means for high blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood against artery walls as it circulates through your body. It rises and falls throughout the day. When it stays elevated over time, it’s called hypertension, or high blood pressure. It makes your heart work harder than it should, and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. There is no cure for high blood pressure; however, it can be controlled. High blood pressure is considered under control when a person’s blood pressure level is below 140/90 mmHg. Controlling your high blood pressure can reduce your risk of heart diseases and stroke.

Current blood pressure control recommendations by age and health:

  • Patients ages 18-59 should be below 140/90mm HG
  • Patients ages 60-85 with diabetes should be below 140/90 mm HG
  • Patients ages 60-85 without diabetes should be below 150/90 mm Hg

Blood pressure is written as two numbers: the first is the systolic number and represents the pressure in your blood vessels when you heart beats; the second number is the diastolic number and represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. So when you see a blood pressure number of 140/90 mmHg, 140 is the systolic number and 90 is the diastolic number.

Recommended care for high blood pressure includes helping patients with hypertension control their blood pressure to a healthy level for their age and health. High blood pressure is often managed through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, avoiding tobacco smoke and limiting alcohol are all ways to prevent or control high blood pressure.

The statewide rate of controlled high blood pressure in adults is 77% for all reporting medical groups. This means 77 of 100 adult patients ages 18 to 85 with hypertension had their high blood pressure under control.

High rates of controlled high blood pressure can be a sign of strong clinical care. It’s important to know that small differences in percentages don’t necessarily reflect the quality of care you’ll receive with a certain medical group or clinic. It is more important to note the large differences between providers, and speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How we calculate the measure

The high blood pressure measure shows how well medical groups and clinics performed in helping their adult patients control their hypertension.

This measure is evaluated annually. The current data is based on information collected from health plan billing data and medical record reviews for 2014 dates of service. This information is collected under the measure name Controlling High Blood Pressure.