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Team Up. Pressure Down: New Program Engages Pharmacists in Blood Pressure Management
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects one in three Americans. It is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks, yet in most cases is readily treatable. In September, the Centers for Disease Control launched an innovative new program called Team Up. Pressure Down, designed to encourage pharmacists to become active members of the healthcare team. The program, part of the Million Hearts initiative, aims to get pharmacists involved in educating and encouraging patients to take their blood pressure medications. By doing so, the CDC hopes to reach an ambitious but achievable goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years.
Your doctor is generally your front line advocate and partner in health, but once your prescription is written it’s up to you to take it, as well as to help your doctor monitor your progress, and to report back with any problems or concerns. To help you do so, the program includes an educational video (found on its website), drug tracker, and blood pressure journal. But the Team Up approach takes the process one step further, by encouraging and assisting your pharmacist to become involved as an important member of your team.
Through the program, pharmacists are encouraged to discuss your medication with you, offer brief but helpful tips for staying on top of the problem, and assist you in developing a plan to track and manage your high blood pressure. The pharmacist may ask you questions about how and how often you take your medications, any side effects or concerns you might have about the drugs you’re prescribed, and whether cost is a barrier for you. Of course, your pharmacist will never take the place of your physician, but by providing important support and timely information, the goal is to deliver better health care, prevent disease, and save lives.
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