Many Americans have postponed basic health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 15% missing appointments to see specialists such as orthopedists, dermatologists and cardiologists. Type 2 diabetes, in particular, poses a significant risk for complications in those who acquire SARS-CoV-2.
That is why several organizations have launched a series of new public service announcements (PSAs) that take a serious look at prediabetes and high blood pressure—both conditions that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The AMA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Ad Council launched a PSA that is part of the “Do I Have Prediabetes?” campaign, which has helped over 3.7 million people learn their risk for prediabetes since 2016. This new PSA, called “Change the Outcome,” raises awareness that prediabetes should not be taken lightly, and that it is potentially reversible.
To help Americans reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, the AMA, American Heart Association (AHA), Office of Minority Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Ad Council released new PSAs with the tagline, “Get Down With Your Blood Pressure.” The PSAs encourage people to take control of their health by self-monitoring their blood pressure and speaking with a physician about their numbers.
The “Change the Outcome” PSAs focus on the importance of early prediabetes diagnosis in partnership with a person’s doctor. Comparing highly unlikely scenarios—like the risk of getting struck by lightning—with the risk of prediabetes helps the PSAs highlight that many things in life are unknown or irreversible. But if caught early, prediabetes does not have to be one of them.
Each creative asset is available in English (DoIHavePrediabetes.org) and Spanish (PodriaTenerPrediabetes.org). Patients over 40 are being encouraged to visit to take a one-minute risk screening to know where they stand. After taking the screening, they can share the results with their doctor to help support early diagnosis and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
“Raising awareness of prediabetes and stressing the importance of people knowing their risk is critical, particularly now as the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies the negative health risks associated with chronic health conditions,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. “Through our latest campaign, we aim to help more of the millions of Americans living with prediabetes find out whether they have the condition.”
The AMA’s Diabetes Prevention Guide supports physicians and health care organizations in defining and implementing evidence-based diabetes prevention strategies.
The “Get Down with Your Blood Pressure” PSAs use music and dance to help people remember easy steps they can take to monitor their BP such as. “Get it, slip it, cuff it and check it,” say the ads. The PSAs also encourage patients to “get down” and get moving to fight off the impact of high blood pressure.
Each PSA also leverages cultural insights in a meaningful and motivational way to better reach people from racial and ethnic groups that disproportionately experience negative health outcomes related to high blood pressure.
“This new campaign is a fun way to get people engaged in monitoring their blood pressure and keeping it under control—which can often feel daunting to many patients—and is more timely than ever given that high blood pressure may put patients at higher risk of severe complications of COVID-19,” said Dr. Harmon. “With the percentage of U.S. adults who have their blood pressure under control significantly declining last year, we believe this new awareness campaign can help more people get their blood pressure under control and save more lives.”
Other tips for addressing hypertension are available through AMA MAP BP™, a leading evidence-based quality improvement program that provides a clear path to significant, sustained improvements in BP control. With AMA MAP BP, health care organizations can increase BP-control rates quickly. The program has demonstrated a 10% increase in BP control in six months with sustained results at one year.