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What is high blood pressure costing your business?

High blood pressure comes with a high price tag for both your employees and business.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the average American indulges in a not-so-healthy diet, doesn’t exercise enough and is stressed out to the max. According to the American Heart Association External Site, it is estimated that 103 million Americans have high blood pressure — nearly half of the adult population in the United States.

With a statistic like this, it's likely you will have an employee who currently deals with high blood pressure. And, while that's concerning, there's more. High blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because there are no noticeable symptoms. So, you could have employees who are dealing with the disease and not even know. This is not only extremely dangerous and costly to them, but also to your business.

What is high blood pressure costing your employees and your business?

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High blood pressure is one of the most expensive health conditions for U.S. employers, costing an estimated $518 per year, per employee.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardio vascular disease.

Employees with cardio vascular disease cost their employers an extra $1,100 each year in lost productivity alone.

Employees with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease.

Sources: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI), RTI Health Solutions, The Benefits Guide.

Be the ‘health plan hero’ of your workplace

There is nobody who knows your employees and business both inside and out better than you. When you care about the health of your employees, both your business and bottom-line stay healthy. The blood pressure guidelines have changed — which means employees who may have fell in the ‘elevated’ category, might now fall into stage 1 of Hypertension. Review the helpful guideline below to help educate your employees on the changes and how they can better understand the numbers.

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Whether you are measuring it yourself or a health care professional is helping you, you'll be given two numbers. The numbers are written or described to you as a ratio, one number over another.

The top number, referred to as systolic, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).

The bottom number, referred to as diastolic, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

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Normal category is greater than 120 (systolic) and less than 80 (diastolic).

Elevated category is between 120-129 (systolic) and less than 80 (diastolic).

High blood pressure or Hypertension Stage One category is between 130-139 (systolic) or between 80-89 (diastolic).

High blood pressure or Hypertension Stage Two category is between 140 or higher (systolic) or between 90 or higher (diastolic).

Hypertensive crisis (Emergency care needed) is higher than 180 (systolic) or higher than 120 (diastolic).

*Read below to find out how you can receive the full “Targeting High Blood pressure” pocket-sized guide to help your employees become heart smart!

4 questions to consider to combat high-blood pressure in the workplace

It may be time to ask yourself and key decision-makers within your company how your current workplace can help combat high blood pressure within employees. Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do your employees seem stressed out?
  2. What do your cafeteria or vending options look like?
  3. Does your workplace have a wellness program in place?
  4. What health support is offered to your employees through your benefits package?

Whether you answered yes to one or all four, you have solutions. With Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, there are a number of resources and experts in your corner to help incorporate into your workplace. At Wellmark, we want to help keep your employees happy and healthy, and continue to drive your business forward all while managing costs for both you and your employees.

4 solutions to incorporate into your workplace

Encourage the importance of a provider-patient relationship.

According 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 — for example, obese and diabetic patients lost more weight, arthritis patients experienced less pain, and people with high blood pressure improved lowering their numbers.

Well-being in the workplace isn’t the latest fad.

Wellmark is committed to creating an environment within the workplace that promotes healthy behaviors. Through our employer consulting and well-being services, we look beyond your employees' claims to provide a variety of evidence-based programs that address the six elements of well-being Opens in a new window and that are unique to your organization.

Healthy cafeteria and vending options are a must.

It’s obvious that your employees are spending a majority of their time at work. That’s why it’s so important to cultivate social norms that foster healthier choices and behaviors. A good place to start is taking a look at your cafeteria or vending machine options. According to Heart.org, External Site improving the types of foods and beverages served and sold in the workplace positively affected employees' eating behaviors and resulted in weight loss and reduced cardiovascular risk.

The Advanced Care impact.

When 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.

Healthy employees, healthy business, healthy bottom-line

In addition to four different solutions to consider adding to your workplace health plan, by searching M2319196 AN-T on the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit, you can receive the full “Targeting Blood Pressure” pocket-sized guide to help your employees get educated on the updated blood pressure guidelines. It's just another way that Wellmark members get more.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative or email us at blueatwork@wellmark.com Send Email.

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