The Henry and Stark County Health Departments and First Choice Healthcare announce that May is National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. The truth is you can have high blood pressure and not know it. That is why it is called the silent killer. It is also why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked. If you know family or friends who haven't had their blood pressure checked recently, make it a point to ask them to do it in May.
In addition, the First Choice Healthcare Clinical Services staff note, if you have high blood pressure, there are steps you can take to get it under control, including:
• Ask your provider what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and then discuss how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal.
• Take your blood pressure medication as directed. If you are having trouble, ask your doctor what you can do to make it easier. For example, you may want to discuss your medication schedule with your doctor if you are taking multiple drugs at different times of the day. Or you may want to discuss side effects you are feeling, or the cost of your medicine.
• Quit smoking—and if you don't smoke, don't start.
• Reduce sodium. Most Americans consume too much sodium, and it raises blood pressure in most people. Learn about tips to reduce your sodium.
The Health Department and First Choice Healthcare staff note there are other healthy habits that can help keep your blood pressure under control such as:
• Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
• Participate in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.
• Eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, saturated fats, trans-fat, and cholesterol.
• Manage stress.
• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink (no more than one drink each day for women and two for men).
• If you have high blood pressure and are prescribed medication, take it as directed.
• If you have a family member who has high blood pressure, you can help by taking many of the steps listed above with them. Go for walks together or cook meals with lower sodium. Make it a family affair!
• And, of course, check your blood pressure regularly.
The First Choice Healthcare reminds area residents that our Family Nurse Practitioners in Kewanee and Colona can help with the management of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If you don't know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers; we have services that can help you see where you stand.
For more information, call our First Choice Healthcare Clinics at 852-5272 (Kewanee) and 792-4011 (Colona) or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter and Instagram.