Did you know that nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure? What’s more, only 24% of adults with hypertension have it under control.
May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. It’s an important time to raise awareness about hypertension control and stroke prevention.
The first National High Blood Pressure Education Month took place in 1974 when The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) launched it. Over the years, more than 300 national companies have joined the critical education and awareness-building campaign.
Why Does Blood Pressure Matter?
High blood pressure occurs when blood flows through the arteries at pressures that are higher than normal. High blood pressure increases a person’s risk for many dangerous health conditions, including:
- Heart attack: About seven of every ten people who had their first heart attack also had high blood pressure.
- Stroke: About eight of every ten people who had their first stroke also had high blood pressure— this is why the two conditions go hand in hand.
- Kidney disease: A significant risk factor for high blood pressure.
2020 Raised the Stakes
Raising awareness about the importance of controlling blood pressure is even more important this year in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Emerging data shows that people with hypertension are at a greater risk of developing severe illness and COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, stroke survivors may face a higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.
How to Commemorate National Blood Pressure Education Month in the Workplace
There are several things you can do at work to ensure your employees and their families realize the importance of healthy blood pressure, including:
- Share handouts link to online information and websites to employees about blood pressure and stroke prevention.
- Decorate the office (or your background if you are WFH) with messages about stroke prevention and blood pressure.
- Host a blood pressure awareness social hour or meeting. Why not make learning fun? Gather your employees for a virtual happy hour or coffee session and educate them on the importance of National Blood Pressure Education Month, this can be done via informational videos, PowerPoint presentations, and guest speakers.
- Encourage your staff to take their own blood pressure with this simple blood pressure guide.
Healthy Blood Pressure Habits
To keep your blood pressure in check, adopt the following daily habits:
- Skip the sodium: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that reducing sodium intake helps prevent high blood pressure. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage people to limit their daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams. People 51 and older or who have hypertension and diabetes should further reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg.
- Consume more fruits and veggies: Studies show that fruits and vegetable consumption is linked to reduced blood pressure.
- Get physical: Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes per day.
The most important thing to do during this National Blood Pressure Education Month is to make sure you do your part to raise awareness about healthy lifestyles to your co-workers, friends, and family.