According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over thirty percent of adults in Connecticut have high blood pressure and many more may be at risk.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, offers the free Check. Change. Control. ® program to help individuals identify, track, lower and maintain healthy blood pressure levels. As part of the program, participants check their blood pressure regularly either using an at-home device or available screening locations in the community and have access to resources to help them reach their blood pressure goals. In Connecticut, the American Heart Association issued a statewide Check It! Challenge to encourage residents to get checked and to track their progress at www.ccctracker.com using the campaign code CHKCT. Participants commit to checking their blood pressure twice each month, changing to healthier habits, and work towards controlling their blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a pressure of 130 systolic or higher, or 80 diastolic or higher, that stays high over time. Nearly half of the American population over age 20
has high blood pressure, and African-Americans are disproportionally impacted.
“Organizations and community groups that provide blood pressure screenings are helping save lives,” says Connecticut American Heart Association Community Health Director, Lisa Neff. “High blood pressure is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., behind smoking cigarettes. You can see a cigarette in someone’s hand and know it’s bad, and a smoker knows they’re smoking. You can’t see or feel high blood pressure. Check. Change. Control. provides an educational platform as well as a tool for individuals to use and that accountability within the program can really help motivate people to improve their health.”
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, African-Americans in the United States have the highest rates of high blood pressure than any group in the world –
nearly half of blacks in the U.S. have it. In addition, compared with whites, blacks have nearly twice the risk of fatal stroke. About half of the higher stroke risk can be attributed to high systolic blood pressure readings.
“With a concerted focus on controlling blood pressure by self-monitoring, we can help people avoid very costly consequences such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and even death, particularly among African American communities,” said Neff.
While there is no cure, using medications as prescribed and making positive lifestyle changes can help enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and more.
Make changes that matter:
- Eat a well-balanced, low-salt diet
- Limit alcohol
- Enjoy regular physical activity
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Take your medications properly
- Work together with your doctor
By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce high blood pressure, prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure and enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. You will also lower your risk of a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney damage, and vision loss.
While heart disease is still the number-one killer in the United States and around the world, death rates have decreased significantly, thanks in part to earlier and better treatment of high blood pressure. Joining the Check It! program can help you begin on a path of better health.
For more information about Check. Change. Control. and the Check It! program in Connecticut contact Lisa Neff at 203-295-2954 or Lisa.Neff@heart.org. For information about high blood pressure, visit www.heart.org/hbp.