Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Program Strives to Reduce High Blood Pressure; by Charlie Patton

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Program Strives to Reduce High Blood Pressure; by Charlie Patton

Article excerpt

Byline: charlie.patton@jacksonville.com

When new blood pressure guidelines, developed by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations, were published in November, they sharply increased the number of Americans with high blood pressure.

Under the new guidelines, 46 percent of Americans are classified as having high blood pressure, up from 32 percent under the old guidelines.

Florida Blue now is bringing an American Heart Association program to Jacksonville which has helped participants in 18 other cities lower their blood pressure.

"Only cigarettes kill more people than high blood pressure," said Elana Schrader, Florida Blue's chief medical officer.

Patricia Adamson, a financial counselor and supervisor at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, knows the dangers of untreated high pressure well.

Seven years ago, when she was 31, Adamson experiencing severe migraine headaches that had her going in and out of the emergency room. Her blood pressure readings would be very high, which people at the emergency room told her was caused by her migraines.

She assumed the migraines resulted from the stress of her job and her role as the mother of two children who are 14 and 8.

As the problem continued, Adamson, on the advice of her physician, began monitoring her blood pressure regularly. What she discovered was that it was often very high even when she wasn't suffering from migraines.

About four years ago, she began taking medication to control her blood pressure. She also made changes to her diet. Her blood pressure today generally runs in the 130/80 range, she said.

Adamson said she will be signing up for the program, known as Check, Change, Control, which asks participants to regularly check their blood pressure and take steps to change their lifestyles to lower high blood pressure.

Beginning Thursday, people can register online with Check, Change, Control by signing up at www. …

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