Scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine found many people with heart failure also have diabetes or high blood pressure.
But those conditions, even when treated, aren’t well controlled, placing people at risk for worsening heart problems.
The research is published in Circulation: Heart Failure and was conducted by Dr. Madeline Sterling et al.
Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump as well as it should and fails to deliver enough oxygen to the body, making it harder for people to perform everyday tasks.
Hypertension, another name for high blood pressure, and diabetes are major risk factors for heart failure, which affects more than 6 million people in the U.S., especially those who have other heart problems or who have had heart attacks.
In the study, the team analyzed 18 years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
They found that while just 8% of 1,423 people diagnosed with heart failure had poor blood sugar control, defined in the study as a hemoglobin A1C level of 8% or higher, 21% of those being treated for diabetes failed to meet blood glucose goals.
The team also found 48% of people with heart failure had uncontrolled hypertension, which the researchers defined as a systolic blood pressure, the top number in a reading, of at least 130.
Among people prescribed blood pressure-lowering medication, poor control was even higher, at 51%. Black adults had higher uncontrolled rates than their white peers, at 53% compared to 47%.
The team says there’s probably a number of reasons that include a lack of understanding or focus from providers about the importance of blood pressure control, but also perhaps a lack of accessibility to consistent and affordable primary and specialty care for adults with heart failure, particularly those under age 65 who don’t qualify for Medicare.
Many people who have heart failure are older, frail and may have cognitive issues, so it may be difficult for them to perform the extensive self-monitoring needed to manage their health.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that common blood pressure drugs may give you this skin disease, and blood pressure swings could be an early sign of heart disease.
For more information about heart failure, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to higher risk of heart failure, and results showing this drug can be a low-cost heart failure treatment.
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