Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a leading risk factor for chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. According to local public health departments, adults in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties have higher rates of high blood pressure than the rest of California. The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke and its local Live Fierce. Reduce Your Risk sponsor Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ) took action this spring to combat this troubling trend.
In San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties over 30 percent of adults have high blood pressure compared to the state average of 26.2 percent. Thanks to support from Health Plan, the American Heart Association offered a free four-week course on high blood pressure management in English and Spanish to residents. The courses included education on good nutrition, physical activity, and self-care all which can help control blood pressure rates. Case managers from Health Plan of San Joaquin also attended the courses and served as a resource for clinical questions from participants.
As part of the program, participants were provided blood pressure cuffs so they could continue to monitor their levels from home. Regularly monitoring your blood pressure can help provide an early diagnosis of hypertension, keep patients motivated to take charge of their health, and determine if blood pressure rates differ outside of the doctor’s office as some patients can have high blood pressure due to anxiety experienced when seeking care.
Social determinants of health including access to education, healthy food, and safe spaces to be active all contribute to the increased rates of high blood pressure in the Greater Valley area.
“High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because there are no symptoms. The only way to know if you have it is to get checked. By supporting blood pressure education in our community, we are saving lives and giving residents, including HPSJ members, more time with their loved ones. Small steps like walking more, eating better, and managing your stress can add up to big health improvements,” said HPSJ Supervisor for Case Management Tapinder Dhillon, RN, BSN, CMCN.
May is High Blood Pressure Education Month. Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure and many are unaware of it. The American Heart Association and Health Plan of San Joaquin encourage everyone know their blood pressure numbers and take steps to reduce it if it is high.