ALBANY — A new program is giving Capital District residents a chance to help control a silent killer.
The American Heart Association is now recruiting participants for the Check It! Challenge. The challenge is a state-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.
“Blood pressure control is more important now than ever,” said Alan Boulos, M.D., interim Dean and Chair of the Neurosurgery Department at Albany Med, and president of the Capital Region Board of Directors of the American Heart Association. “We know that the pandemic has led to poor eating habits, increased alcohol consumption, less physical activity, and additional stress, resulting in increased blood pressure. Even small increases in blood pressure increase one’s risk of stroke and other adverse cardiovascular disease events. It’s important that we all know our numbers and get our health back on track.”
The program is open to employers and community organizations, as well as individuals. The program runs from February (American Heart Month) through May (American Stroke Month). Each month features educational topics including controlling your blood pressure, eating smart and reducing sodium, moving more, and mental health and well-being.
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.
SEFCU is the local sponsor of the Check It! Challenge.
“We know 244,000 people in the Capital Region have high blood pressure. This is an unfortunate reality, but together we can shrink that number, teach people why it is important to monitor their blood pressure, and show them how to lead more heart-healthy lives,” said SEFCU President and CEO Michael Castellana. “Through our support of local hospitals and nonprofit organizations like the American Heart Association, SEFCU is dedicated to building a better Capital Region, where people live longer, feel healthier, and become happier. We are thrilled to wholeheartedly support the Check It! Challenge.”
Employers and organizations interested in joining should register at heart.org/CheckItChallenge or contact [email protected]
To date, the Check It! Challenge will reach 160,000 people. The number is growing.
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.
Statewide, sponsors include SEFCU, UHS, Kinney Drugs, Hillrom, and Tompkins Mahopac Bank.