Check It! Challenge could lead to lower risk of heart disease and stroke

Up to the Minute

From the American Heart Association

BINGHAMTON, NY — A program giving Southern Tier residents a chance to help control a silent killer is back.

The American Heart Association is now recruiting participants for the Check It! Challenge. The challenge is a community-wide program encouraging people to check, change, and control their blood pressure.

The Check It! Challenge is based on the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. program, which is an evidence-based hypertension management program empowering participants to take ownership of their health using blood-pressure self-monitoring. The program incorporates the concepts of remote monitoring and tracking as key features to hypertension management.

In its first year, the program saw success despite being interrupted by a pandemic. Among those with a decrease in blood pressure, there was an average drop of -10.3 mmHg.

“In Broome County alone, about 28% of adults have diagnosed high blood pressure. That’s nearly 45,000 people,” said Franklin Fry, executive director for the American Heart Association in Syracuse. “If we can continue to move the needle on these numbers and help our community control blood pressure numbers, we can make a real difference.”

The program is open to individuals, employers or community organizations. The program runs from February (American Heart Month) through May (American Stroke Month). Each month features educational topics including how to manage blood pressure, healthy eating habits, physical activity and stress reduction, and knowing the signs of heart attack and stroke.

Participants are asked to take their blood pressure at least twice a month during the program. Blood pressure checks can be performed with at-home monitors or at a doctor’s office.

Employers and organizations interested in joining should register at heart.org/CheckItChallenge or  contact Community Impact Director Lisa Neff at Lisa.Neff@heart.org. UHS is a sponsor of the program.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a silent killer. It typically has no symptoms, but can lead to deadly health consequences such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. About half of all Americans have high blood pressure, but many are unaware.

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