The Check It! Challenge is coming to Central New York in the new year. It’s a program from the American Heart Association encouraging all of us to check our blood pressure on a regular basis.
“We want them to check their blood pressure” says Communications Director Kristy Smorol. “We want them to change their numbers. We want them to control their blood pressure.”
High blood pressure can cause a number of serious health problems or even result in death. The new program will run for four months and encourages participants to monitor their blood pressure at home or work.
The American Heart Association is seeking participants, and you can sign up right now by clicking here. When prompted, use the campaign code CNYBP.
“It can be companies” says Community Impact Director Lisa Neff. “It can be organizations. Individuals can join the challenge as well. And then we’re also recruiting health care organizations to participate.”
People who are a part of the challenge will need a cuff. The program has some available for companies and organizations that want to participate, but they encourage individuals to seek out places in the community that they can check themselves.
Neff says that most doctors will do a check for you without an appointment, but cautions that might be only once per year. “You also have to make sure they’re telling you the numbers,” she says. “Also you may not realize that what you’re doing when they take your blood pressure at the doctors may not be the right way.”
The American Heart Association shares a few recommendations for properly taking your blood pressure:
- Don’t smoke, exercise, or drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol within 30 minutes of measurement.
- Rest in a chair for at least 5 minutes with your left arm resting comfortably on a flat surface at heart level. Sit calmly and don’t talk.
- Make sure you’re relaxed. Sit still in a chair with your feet flat on the floor with your back straight and supported.
- Use a properly calibrated and validated instrument. Check the cuff size and fit.
- Place the bottom of the cuff above the bend of the elbow.
- Take at least two readings 1 min. apart in morning before taking medications, and in evening before dinner. Record all results.
According to the American Heart Association, your blood pressure is considered in the normal range if the upper number is less than 120 and the lower number is less than 80.
“We want to teach people about blood pressure, because everyone has a blood pressure, but not that many people understand what it is or what it means,” says Smorol.