In an effort spearheaded by the American Medical Group Foundation (AMGF), nearly 120 healthcare organizations have banded together to initiate Measure Up, Pressure Down, a national campaign that aims to reduce the blood pressure of 80 percent of hypertension patients, reported Medical News Today.
“Weill Cornell Physician Organization is committed to improving the health of our hypertension patients and helping to reduce the national burden of high blood pressure – the leading cause of stroke and heart disease,” said Adam Stracher, M.D., campaign leader at Weill Cornell Physician Organization at Weill Cornell Medical College. “The new campaign wishes to ensure that every time a patient with elevated blood pressure touches the health care system, they get the education, monitoring, necessary medication and medical follow-up they need to properly manage and improve their health.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly one-third of U.S. adults (68 million) have high blood pressure. Also known as a “silent killer,” hypertension usually does not have any obvious symptoms, but it’s one of the main culprits of cardiovascular disease and stroke as well as a leading cause of death.
According to Medical News Today, Measure Up, Pressure Down is not only about seeing better results through effective blood pressure-lowering efforts, but it’s a means of raising awareness in patients and employers. Some sponsors of the campaign include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Association of Black Cardiologists.
Lowering high blood pressure
There are myriad lifestyle choices that can help patients keep their blood pressures under control. The CDC notes that weight can play a large factor in hypertension and people should consult with their physicians to find out whether they have a body mass index that’s conducive to healthy blood pressure levels.
Exercise can also help patients lower their blood pressures, and people should try to exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, according to the Surgeon General.
The CDC also reports that smoking is a contributor to hypertension because it hardens the arteries and damages blood vessels. Alcohol abuse is also linked to hypertension – men should limit their intake to two drinks a day, while women should only consume one per day.
Diet plays a crucial role in blood pressure control. The CDC recommends eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and keeping foods that are rich in saturated fats and sodium to a minimum.
The University of Maryland also notes that omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to benefit cardiovascular wellness and control blood pressure. Omega-3s can be found in chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp milk and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals. The source also reports that omega-3s can help patients deal with diabetes, which is another risk factor for hypertension.
There are some natural causes of high blood pressure, such as family history. According to the CDC, certain genes can increase the likelihood of developing hypertension. Age and ethnicity are also contributing factors – blood pressure usually rises as people age and African Americans are at a higher risk of developing the condition.
Patients may also want to get their blood pressures checked regularly, which can be done by a physician or by machines at local pharmacies. Home monitoring devices are also available. Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic – systolic is the blood pressure when the heart is beating and diastolic is the pressure when it’s at rest.