Health Department encourages heart health

By: For the Record

The Anson County Health Department encourages everyone to keep those hearts pumping healthily.

A free educational session on heart disease and prevention methods will be held at the department from 3-4 p.m. Feb. 23. Included in the session will be free blood pressure screenings.

February is a month of heart awareness and heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The leading cause of heart disease is high blood pressure. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels, is steadily too high. In 2017, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 129/80 is raised blood pressure, and a blood pressure of 130/80 or above is considered high.

High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it shows no symptoms. Nearly 75 million people have high blood pressure in the United States. About 54 percent of those have their blood pressures under control. Along with heart disease, high blood pressure can also cause stroke, which is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S.

More than 40 percent of African-Americans have high blood pressure. African-American men who live in the Southeast region makeup a lot of this percentage in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African-American men have the highest hypertension death rate, and this is three times higher than the rate for white men. Studies show that high blood pressure goes untreated in many African-Americans. However, there is no certain answer why the rate of high blood pressure is higher in African-Americans than any other race group. Researchers believe high rates of high blood pressure in African-Americans may be due to genetics and environmental factors. African-Americans are not the only people at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

Risk factors include: gentetics; increased age; excessive weight; a family history of high blood pressure; having diabetes; inactivity; high dietary salt and fat; low intake of potassium; and smoking.

Lifestyle changes can help control high blood pressure such as: eating healthy; being active; not smoking; and monitoring blood pressure rates.

The Health Department is partnering with the Carolinas HealthCare System-Anson to identify, monitor and manage high blood pressure in the county. The hospital has a new mobile health clinic that provides ongoing blood pressure screenings at 10 sites in the county. Also, the hospital is working with the AHA to bring the AHA’s Check.Change.Control Program to the county. The program includes the ideas of distant monitoring and online tracking as key features to improve outcomes in hypertension management, physical activity, and weight reduction.

The Health Department is located at 110 Ashe St., Wadesboro.

For more information, contact Dinikia Savage at the Anson County Health Department at 704-994-3342.

For the Record