AUSTIN – Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure and many don’t know it. Additionally, only about 1 in 4 adults with high blood pressure have their condition under control. When left untreated, it can damage your circulatory system and lead to a heart attack, stroke or other critical health concerns.
To address these concerns locally, the American Heart Association – Central Texas (AHA) is working alongside the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) to launch Screen, Educate and Refer Programs, sponsored by Abbott.
PARD will pilot the program at three of their locations: Gus Garcia Recreation Center, Conley Guerrero Senior Center and Lamar Senior Activity Center. These sites were selected based on need, location and interest in participating in the Screen, Educate and Refer Initiative with the goal of expanding to more of PARD’s 26 locations through next year.
All three locations provide weekly classes to the community, during which attendees perform self-measured blood pressure monitoring with blood pressure monitors and cuffs, educational material and training provided by the Central Texas AHA.
BGCAA is expanding on their existing healthcare educational efforts by providing access to hypertension control resources and tools. With support from the Central Texas AHA, families are given blood pressure monitors to regularly monitor and track their readings while being educated on proper blood pressure self-measurement.
The three Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) located in Central Texas, with support from Central Texas AHA, are actively collaborating with BGCAA to provide follow up care for members with high blood pressure readings and provide maps and contact information of the closest FQHCs to each BGCAA location.
Additionally, families receive educational materials on lifestyle changes they can make to lower their blood pressure, how to correctly measure their blood pressure and how to improve their overall health through AHA’s Life’s Simple 7. All resources are provided in English and Spanish.
High blood pressure is a “silent killer”, typically with no obvious symptoms. The American Heart Association is working alongside patients, health care providers and communities 24/7 to help improve blood pressure control rates to ensure all live a long and healthy life.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.