*This article was last updated on February 1, 2020
The American Heart Association External Site estimates that 103 million Americans are living with high blood pressure — that's half of the adult population. With a statistic like this, it's probable you have a significant number or employees who are knowingly — or even unknowingly — living with high blood pressure.
Unlike many illnesses and diseases, high blood pressure garners the reputation as the "silent killer," since there may not be any noticeable symptoms.
High blood pressure can be an extremely dangerous and costly disease if you have an employee who isn't aware of the condition, or does not properly manage the condition. The complications of untreated high blood pressure can notably impact your employee's time and their productivity in the workplace.
What is high blood pressure costing your employees and business?
It's no secret that your healthy employees are less likely to call in sick or spend more in health care dollars. On the contrary, employees with high blood pressure can cost themselves (and your business) more in terms of medical care, absenteeism, and lost productivity.
Get a glimpse at the negative impacts of high blood pressure on your employees and business:
Under pressure: The negative effects of high blood pressure
HIgh blood pressure costs U.S. employers around $518 per year, per employee.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease costs employers an extra $1,100 each year in lost productivity.
Employees with high blood pressure are 4x more likely to die from a stroke.
The blood pressure guidelines have changed
Do you (or your employees) know that blood pressure guidelines have changed External Site? This means an employee who may have fallen in the "elevated" category might now fall into stage 1 of hypertension. While nobody knows your employees and business both inside and out better than you, it's important to educate all employees on the changes to ensure the health of your employees, business and bottom line stay intact.
Bonus for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members. By visiting the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit Secure Site, you can download the "Targeting Blood Pressure" pocket-sized guide for a streamlined way to educate your employees on the updated blood pressure guidelines. All you need to do is log in, and search for M-2319196.
5 solutions for high blood pressure in your workplace
As a Wellmark member, there are several resources and experts in your corner to help employees navigate, prevent or control their high blood pressure. Not to mention, there are a few healthy options your business can incorporate, too.
Encourage the importance of prevention and a patient-provider relationshipAccording to the PLUS ONE study, the doctor-patient relationship Opens in a new window is important to good health. As part of the research, doctors went through training to improve how they interacted with patients. The results showed improved experience between doctors and patients.
Resources for employees:
Resources for your business:
- Play smart offense with preventive care (Free download included!)
- Preventive care: A win-win for your business and employees
By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce population will consist of the millennial generation. Not only is this generation increasingly more unhealthy than prior generations, only 68 percent of them have a primary care provider compared to 91 percent of Generation X. Four of the top-10 physical conditions affecting millennials (including high blood pressure) saw a 16 percent increase in prevalence.
Encourage more movement throughout the dayWhile there are non-controllable risks such as family history, age, gender or race, when it comes to employees with high blood pressure disease, there are risk factors that are preventable — notably, lack of physical activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Site, less than half of adults get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. It’s not hard when an estimated 67 percent of adults report sitting External Site for more than eight hours a day.
Consider including these additional educational resources within your workplace:
- 9 ways to bring movement into (and out) of the office
- Getting active to control high blood pressure External Site
- Download: A fun, motivational game when you visit the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit and search for M-2320372.
Healthy cafeteria and vending options are a mustAnother risk factor for high blood pressure that can be controlled is an unhealthy diet — especially one high in sodium. Because most of your employees are spending a majority of their time at work, it’s important to have healthy options in your cafeteria or vending machines. According to the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health External Site, improving the type of foods and beverages served and sold in the workplace positively affected employees’ eating behaviors and resulted in weight loss and reduced cardiovascular risk.
Need some inspiration? Start with this round-up of articles:
- A guide to eating better at work
- Get employees to eat more fruits and veggies with these ridiculously easy recipes
- Water you waiting for? Combat dehydration in the workplace
- Managing high blood pressure with a heart-healthy diet External Site
The Advanced Care impactWhen employees don't receive adequate support for their unmanaged chronic conditions, they tend to have more health care-related costs and frequent trips to the doctor, which can impact your company's bottom line. With the Advanced Care program Opens in a new window, Wellmark uses a team of clinically trained health care professionals to assist with your employees' unique health needs. The program focuses on providing employees with holistic, robust education and support that empowers them to take charge of their condition.
Invest in a well-being program
Keeping your bottom line in check is important, but keeping your employees happy, healthy and engaged in the work they do is priceless. Making the investment in a holistic wellness program for your workplace can result in 41 percent lower health-related costs compared to employees who are struggling. And, employees are three times more likely to go the extra mile when they feel their employer cares about their overall health and well-being. At Wellmark, we know your business, and we have insights and data on your employees that you may not have in house. We can serve as an extension of your workforce and provide expertise in creating engaging solutions to meet the unique needs of your organization.
Healthy business, healthy employees
As your company’s HR or benefits administrator, you have a natural knack for wanting to help educate employees on how they can become savvy health care consumers. And, companies that offer Wellmark coverage also offer their employees the tools and resources to help manage conditions like high blood pressure, track claims and costs, compare quality scores for providers, and find top centers for specialty care.
With myWellmark®, your confidence can be restored in your employees’ knowledge of their health insurance coverage, leaving you to answer fewer questions, calls and emails about their health insurance plan.
If they haven’t done so already, encourage them to register for myWellmark Opens in a new window. Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Send Email.
- Engaging Employees through Health and Wellbeing Report, SimplyHealth, 2011
- State of the American Workplace Report, Gallup, 2013
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Health Strategies for High Blood Pressure External Site
- Heart.org: Changes you can make to manage high blood pressure External Site
- Heart.org: More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure Opens in a new window