Improve health outcomes by managing blood pressure

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The American Heart Association estimates 85 million Americans have high blood pressure. This silent killer is especially challenging for people of color. And while there is no cure, it can be managed. Millions of African-Americans can control health outcomes and prevent premature death, simply by managing their blood pressure.

“About 85 million people in America have hypertension. And of that only about half of those people have it controlled,” said Dr. Devita Stallings, Saint Louis University School of Nursing.

When a person fails to recognize the risks or manage the disease, the domino effect can lead to devastating consequences like heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, or sexual dysfunction. The chain reaction begins with the blood circulating through the heart and the arteries.

“And so it damages the wall of the artery,” Stallings said. “Causes them to become thin, causes blood flow to be slowed, and it also causes those arteries to constrict.”

Stallings said about 46 percent of African-Americans have high blood pressure. Factors impacting the population are poverty, obesity, sodium intake, and a basic lack of knowledge. Under the AHA’s initiative, called Empowered to Serve, awareness is increased through three Cs: check change, control.

The Central Baptist Church is offering an upcoming gospel concert and health screening on May 19.