Middletown Health Department and the American Heart Association Establish the Check, Yourself – Community Blood Pressure Initiative

The Middletown Health Department is working with the American Heart Association to address the high rates of hypertension and risks for cardiovascular disease for the city’s seniors, unhoused, and veteran populations with the Check, Yourself program. The program is part of a nationwide initiative that is working to drive sustainable changes that are responsive and aligned with community-identified needs by providing education and resources.

On a local level to support the outreach, the American Heart Association collaborates with the health department to develop a network of Check, Yourself locations; outfitting each location with self-monitoring blood pressure stations that include blood pressure devices and directions for self-directed referrals to clinical care, and the schedule for in-person screenings around the city. The Association also provides blood pressure kits that can be loaned to participants. The kits include educational materials on hypertension, lifestyle modification, blood pressure tracking logs, and a short self-referral questionnaire on nutrition security and tobacco use.

The Check, Yourself program was launched in Middletown on January 2, and is led by Roseann Sillasen, MALS, BSN, RN-BC, TTS, a-IPC, the Public Health Nurse/Case Investigator for the City of Middletown Department of Health. Check, Yourself offers blood pressure screenings at the three housing and community center locations. Participants of the Middletown program will also be receiving information to connect to medical care through the help of the Middletown Health Department or via self-referral to local health centers. Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. High blood pressure often has no symptoms and overtime, if untreated, can cause health conditions leading to heart disease and stroke.

The Middletown Health Department serves the city’s diverse population of close to 49,000 residents by developing a network of social and community services. This community health program is important because more than 15% of the population is over 65 years of age and hypertension rates for seniors range from 30% to 37%.

Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure but don’t even know they have it. The best way to know it is to have your blood pressure checked.

For more information on hypertension and other risks related to heart disease and stroke, visit heart.org. For more information on managing blood pressure and risks for heart disease, go to www.heart.org/bloodpressure.