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Albany Med Today

Albany Med Hypertension Initiative Makes Progress

Patients Benefit from Focus on Screening and Cooperation

An initiative developed last year by Albany Medical Center physicians to combat high blood pressure in the hundreds of thousands of patients they see every year has helped thousands control the potentially deadly condition.

Cardiologist Ferdinand Venditti, MD, vice dean for clinical affairs and head of the Albany Med Faculty Physicians group, said that under protocols Albany Med adopted last year, the percentage of Albany Med patients diagnosed with hypertension who were able to lower their blood pressure through treatment rose to 78 percent  in 2013 from 66 percent in 2012. According to the American Heart Association, only 52 percent of Americans with hypertension nationwide have it under control.

Focus on Hypertension

In 2012, Albany Med saw more than 22,000 patients with a diagnosis of hypertension.
Roughly one in three of them, including many people under age 40, had high blood pressure readings despite treatment.

Through this initiative, Albany Med physicians from every specialty notify a patient’s primary care physician if high blood pressure is found during their visit regardless of the reason the patient was examined.  Dr. Venditti said Albany Med physicians then work with the patient’s primary care physician to develop a coordinated treatment plan.

“Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to a wide range of serious and debilitating conditions,” Dr. Venditti said. “By coordinating the work of our entire practice with our colleagues throughout the community, we are seeing important gains.”

“There are no specific signs or symptoms of hypertension, so you may not even know you have it — even as it’s inflicting damage to your body,” said Arif Asif, MD, Thomas Ordway Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Albany Medical College and chief of Nephrology and Hypertension. “Through this new program, Albany Med has made the detection and treatment of hypertension a priority in every area of our practice.”

Dr. Venditti noted that in 2012 Albany Med Faculty Physicians saw more than 22,000 patients with a diagnosis of hypertension; roughly one in three of them, including many people under age 40, had high blood pressure readings despite treatment.

An early diagnosis of hypertension, the development of a coordinated treatment plan and implementing lifestyle changes are all critically important,” Dr. Venditti said.

In addition to the hypertension program, Albany Med also developed the region’s first pediatric hypertension program last year.