BEND, Ore. - The regional non-profit Central Oregon Health Council announced the launch of a 16-month blood pressure awareness and outreach campaign.
Designed to encourage Central Oregonians to find out their blood pressure numbers, the collaborative effort provides information about high blood pressure, details the risks of untreated high blood pressure, and offers resources for getting blood pressure checked throughout Central Oregon.
Dr. Mark Backus of Cascade Internal Medicine Specialists and a member of COHC’s Cardiovascular Disease Clinical Workgroup says, “Our ultimate goal is to have all adults in Central Oregon know their blood pressure numbers then act on that information. We want people to know that getting their blood pressure checked is easy and very often free. Most importantly, it can be a matter of life and death.”
“High blood pressure is more common than people think—and more dangerous,” adds Gwen Jones, Project Manager for Central Oregon Health Council. “It affects more than 80,000 Central Oregon adults, and when left untreated, can lead to heart attack, stroke, dementia, and death.”
There’s a reason high blood pressure is known as “the silent killer”, says Dr. Divya Sharma, Chief Medical Officer of Central Oregon Independent Practice Association. “People hear the words ‘high blood pressure’ and imagine someone who is sweating or has a flushed face and racing heart. The truth is, high blood pressure typically has no symptoms and can affect anyone, even if they feel fine, watch their sodium intake, or don’t have family history of hypertension.”
Despite the seriousness of high blood pressure, the condition can be managed. “It starts with knowing what your blood pressure numbers are,” says Maria Hatcliffe of Mosaic Medical. “That’s why we created this program.”
The campaign directs Central Oregonians to www.KnowMyBP.org. The website offers a wealth of information, from what blood pressure readings mean to tips for managing high blood pressure to where Central Oregonians can get their blood pressure checked at no cost.
“Encouraging people to get their blood pressure checked is the focus of this work,” says Katie Plumb of Crook County Health Department. “We want to make it easy for people to get their blood pressure checked, whether at their doctor’s office, at a fire station, or at a local grocery or drugstore. Knowledge truly is power.”
The website includes a Find a Test Location feature that lists dozens of automated and other free blood pressure test locations throughout the High Desert. This list can be accessed at https://knowmybp.org/free-automated-blood-pressure-test-locations-in-central-oregon/.
About Central Oregon Health Council