American Heart Association to install new blood pressure kiosks in Charlotte

American Heart Association Charlotte installs new blood pressure kiosks

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Do you know your blood pressure? Many people don't - and not knowing can be dangerous to your health. About 240 ,000 people in the Charlotte region have high blood pressure according to American Heart Association (AHA) of Charlotte.

It’s why AHA Charlotte is hoping its new initiative will motivate people to not only know their blood pressure, but also monitor is on a daily basis. High blood pressure (also referred to as HBP or hypertension) is when your blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high. Most of the time there are no obvious symptoms and certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for HBP.

When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke and other health threats.

AHA Charlotte wants more people to be aware if they have hypertension which is known as a silent killer.

“Many people are walking around as ticking time bombs not aware that they have high blood pressure,” said Marques Fitch, the VP of Health Strategies with the American Heart Association of Charlotte.

He told WBTV they were intentional about choosing the Goodwill center on Wilkinson Boulevard and the Camino Community Center as the first two locations to get the new self-monitoring blood pressure kiosks.

“We were very strategic in placing them at Camino… because there’s a clinic there in the building. So in the event someone has extremely high bp, they can go and get advice on what they need to do to manage it in case there’s an emergency or crisis.”

AHA Charlotte hopes having easy, affordable access to get your blood pressure checked prompts more people to monitor it regularly and start to take control of it.

“One of our main focus areas is to provide access to care with a focus on health equity so it was key for us to place the kiosks in locations where you know chronic disease was highest here in the Charlotte area,” said Fitch. “And that’s why we were very intentional in putting them on the bus line on the light rail for these two locations.”

Charlotte is the first city in the country to get these special kiosks. The effort made possible by the Albemarle Foundation and CVS Health which is paying for the kiosks. They will be unveiled Friday, May 17 on World Hypertension Day and will also include critical information about HBP and what to do and the changes you should make if you discover your risk of hypertension is elevated.

I’m also working on a special story about hypertension-- particularly how men of color are disproportionately affected and their increased risk of stroke that will air later this week. You can see that story Friday at 7:30 pm. during On Your Side Tonight with Jamie Boll.

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