Ever stop by your favorite coffee shop on the way to work? It’s easy. It’s convenient. A lot of people do it. You drop $2 to $4 on a coffee, gulp it down, and get on with your day.
Maybe you spend a few more bucks on a muffin or pastry, and treat a co-worker to coffee, too. And then one day you crunch the numbers, and realize your coffee habit costs thousands of dollars a year.
It's a lot like the cost to treat high blood pressure.
An estimated 1 out of 2 adults has high blood pressure, based on guidelines established by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. And it costs an estimated $46 billion a year to treat it, according to recent data published in the journal Circulation.
How much of your employee health costs are linked to controlling blood pressure?
Based on the new guidelines, there's no such thing as "high" blood pressure anymore. When a healthcare professional measures blood pressure, here's how it's classified:
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120
How elevated blood pressure increases healthcare costs
Like that daily cup of coffee, the cost to treat elevated or higher blood pressure might not seem like much... at first:
- A doctor’s appointment
- A customized meal plan
- Maybe daily medication
- Wellness program interventions to encourage physical activity
But over time, the costs can grow exponentially because elevated blood pressure raises the risk for other chronic health problems like:
- Heart disease
- Kidney damage
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Bone loss
- Sleep apnea
For someone with Stage 1, Stage 2, or Hypertensive Crisis blood pressure, the new guidelines recommend more frequent doctor’s visits, and even hospitalization or continuous monitoring.
If half your population has elevated or higher blood pressure, the direct costs of medication and treatment can get expensive. But there’s other costs you’ll have to absorb based on poor employee health like absenteeism and lost productivity.
How much of that $46 billion medical bill to treat blood pressure is your organization paying to manage employee health?
If you manage a large workforce, you may be spending millions of dollars a year to treat elevated or higher blood pressure. It’s treatable and preventable. But if you don’t do anything about it, your costs will keep going up while employee health gets worse.
Calculate your costs to treat blood pressure
What’s the true cost of elevated blood pressure for your organization? It’s a lot more than a cup of coffee a day. Check out this infographic and use the calculator to estimate your costs.