February is American Heart Month, and with recently published research indicating blood pressure control has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties urges the Pierce and Kitsap community members to make their health a priority by getting a blood pressure screening. Blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association indicate that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.
While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as contacting the Y and taking part in Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring.
Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring
The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties offers a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program (BPSMP) that helps adults with hypertension lower and better manage their blood pressure. The program focuses on regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure at home using proper measuring techniques, individualized support and nutrition education to potentially reduce blood pressure and improve their quality of life.
The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties is proud to be working through partnerships to reduce risk of heart disease through offering the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program to those living with hypertension. Our YMCA’s strategy is to bring this evidence-based program, which reduces rates of hypertension, to communities burdened by disproportionate rates of heart disease. Through partnerships with Mercy Housing, Tacoma Housing Authority and most recently with the Marvin William’s Center, we are working together to improve heart health in many languages in many different cultures.
Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a four-month period, along with regular physical activity, proper nutrition and reducing sodium intake, may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
To date, we have served over 250 individuals living with hypertension who have realized a collective decrease in blood pressure readings in both systolic and diastolic levels (12.52 points and 5.87 points respectively). Nationally, the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program is available at more than 600 locations in 40 states. To date, participants have lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 11.1 mmhg between initial and final readings.
To learn more, please contact Susan Buell, Association Director of Health Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.