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May: High Blood Pressure Education Month

May: High Blood Pressure Education MonthToday one in three American adults have high blood pressure, and of them, more than half do not have their condition under control. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 35 percent of all heart attacks and strokes, 49 percent of all episodes of heart failure, and 24 percent of all premature deaths are due to high blood pressure. So what is your company doing to ensure its employees and their family members are not one of these statistics?

May is “High Blood Pressure Education Month,” so it’s the perfect time to review this health risk. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines  high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, as the force of blood on the walls of your blood vessels as blood flows through them. Systolic pressure (the higher number) is the force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood out of the heart. Diastolic pressure (the lower number) is the force that occurs when the heart relaxes in between beats. 

Blood pressure is considered normal when systolic pressure is less than 120 mmHG, and diastolic pressure is less than 80 mmHg. At Faith Technologies, I’m proud to say that our Health Risk Assessment (HRA) results for the past four years have indicated blood pressure as one of our top three lowest ranked risks. Of our company’s 2,065 HRA participants, 74 percent are at or below this range!

The following items can all contribute to high blood pressure: smoking, being overweight, having a high salt diet, too much alcohol consumption, stress, genetics, older age, family history, chronic kidney disease, and thyroid disorders; but the good news is – it is controllable. If you have high blood pressure, below are just a few steps you can take to control it:

  • Meet with your primary care physician to set up a plan
  • Take blood pressure medication
  • Maintain a low salt diet
  • Lose weight by trying to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking

One of the requirements of Faith Technologies’ 2013 HRAs for those that scored below a certain threshold was to schedule a visit with their primary care physician. Here they could discuss whatever issue is causing them to score lower than the recommended level, and develop a plan of action moving forward.

Be a guiding light for your employees, and aid them on their road to good health!