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Does High Systolic Blood Pressure Truly Increase Medical Expenditure?—An Empirical Analysis of the New 2017 ACC/AHA Hypertension Guideline

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2018.108079    531 Downloads   1,435 Views Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: High blood pressure (BP) or hypertension is considered one of the top global disease burden risk factors. In November 2017, the ACC/AHA and other organizations announced a new hypertension guideline of 130/80 mmHg. Data and Methods: We evaluate the effects of BP on increases in medical expenditures using transformation tobit models and a dataset containing 175,123 medical checkups and 6,312,125 receipts from 88,211 individuals in three health insurance societies. The sample period was April 2013 to March 2016. We first created a database of combined checkup results and medical expenditures. The power transformation tobit model was then used to remove the effects of other variables, and we investigated the relation between medical expenditures and BP, especially systolic BP (SBP). Results: We observed negative effects of SBP on medical expenditures. The results raise uncertainty about the reliability of the new guideline, at least for SBP. Although the simple correlation coefficient of medical expenditures and SBP was positive, the sign of the SBP estimate became negative when a variable representing obesity was included. In terms of other medical checkup items, while LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol, it reduced medical expenditures. Conclusion: Our results did not support the new 2017 ACC/AHA guideline for SBP. A wide and careful range of reviews not only for heart diseases but also for other disease types will be absolutely necessary. New studies to verify the guideline should also be conducted. Limitations: The dataset was observatory, the sample period only 3 years, and we could not complete a time-series analysis of individuals.

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Nawata, K. and Kimura, M. (2018) Does High Systolic Blood Pressure Truly Increase Medical Expenditure?—An Empirical Analysis of the New 2017 ACC/AHA Hypertension Guideline. Health, 10, 1044-1065. doi: 10.4236/health.2018.108079.

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