Take Action to Improve Heart Health
High Blood Pressure (hypertension) is a health issue that affects more than 78 million adults in the United States, but less than half of these individuals have it under control.
In North Carolina, hypertension is the chief factor, or a contributing factor, in at least one quarter of all deaths annually. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney failure.
If you are living with high blood pressure, taking action to keep it well-controlled will minimize your risk for complications like stroke, heart attack, and even death. High blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder than it should with each beat, is especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs and usually lasts a lifetime once it develops. The simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a period of four months has been shown to lower blood pressure in many people with high blood pressure. This forms the basis for the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program, an evidence-based program that features personalized support as you develop the habit of routinely self-monitoring your blood pressure, tips for maintaining your cardiovascular health, and nutrition education.
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Participants will work with trained Healthy Heart Ambassadors for the duration of the four-month program. Just a few check-ins per month can yield big results. You will:
• Take your own blood pressure at least two times per month
• Attend two consultations with a YMCA Healthy Heart Ambassador per month – no appointment necessary
• Attend monthly nutrition education
You will record your blood pressure readings using an easy-to-use tracking tool of your own choosing. The Y can provide options for participants who need a home blood pressure monitor.
The YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program helps participants:
• Reduce their blood pressure by identifying patterns and trends on which to take action
• Better manage their blood pressure over time
• Increase their awareness of triggers that elevate blood pressure
• Improve their knowledge of heart-healthy eating habits
• Enrich communication with their health care provider by sharing self-monitoring results
Healthy Heart Ambassadors
Certified Healthy Heart Ambassadors will train you on the proper technique for taking your own blood pressure readings accurately, will assist you in identifying trends and patterns in your readings over time, and will provide ongoing support as you work to make blood pressure self-monitoring a habit.
Office Hour Consultations
Healthy Heart Ambassadors are available each week for one-on-one 10-minute consultations to support you as you continue to better manage your blood pressure. You’ll be asked to attend at least two consultations a month, but you will be welcome any time a Healthy Heart Ambassador is on-duty. To ensure you feel supported throughout the program, you will also receive weekly emails, calls or text messages from a Healthy Heart Ambassador.
Nutrition Education Seminars
Seminars will highlight how food is related to blood pressure management and will provide you with the knowledge and skills to make heart-healthy choices. Seminar topics include reducing sodium intake and heart healthy eating. Each 60-minute seminar will also offer an opportunity for you to take your own blood pressure with coaching on proper technique from an on-site Healthy Heart Ambassador.