Black Girls RUN! Can Save Our Community

90 days ago I made the commitment to check my numbers – blood pressure numbers – at least once a week. This pledge has been an eye opening experience for me, as I have seen the direct impact of food, what I eat, when I eat and my physical activity on my blood pressure.

Black Girls RUN! had the opportunity to chat with Dr. James Rippe, M.D., renowned cardiologist and founder and director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute about the importance of knowing your numbers and how Black Girls RUN! has a part to play in changing this paradigm in our community.

“Communities like Black Girls RUN!, that promote a healthy lifestyle can help to galvanize the community.” says Dr. Rippe. “You have a great opportunity to spread the word about the risks of high blood pressure, and the lifestyle habits that can keep your blood pressure healthy, like exercise, regular blood pressure monitoring and maintaining a heart-healthy diet. Focusing on healthy habits as a group is more motivating than going solo.”

Black Girls RUN! has taken the challenge with Omron Healthcare - “GOING FOR ZERO”, eliminating heart attacks and stroke. We understand the importance of knowing your numbers and how lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

“If you’re in the hypertensive range, you should first consult your physician to determine a plan that works best for you. The early stages of hypertension can often be managed with simple lifestyle tweaks.” comments Dr. Rippe.

Below are some simple and practical steps you can take to start monitoring your own blood pressure. Take these small steps now to have a long-lasting impact!

  1. Know your numbers. Monitor your blood pressure regularly to track your heart health trends accurately. Do you tend to be on the high side at night, or in the mornings? Are your average readings generally normal, with one or two spikes due to stressful events? Monitoring your blood pressure at home is easier than ever. Having more accurate data is the best way to help your physician know the total picture – leading to better treatment plans and better outcomes.
  2. Implement lifestyle changes. Eating a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can all make a big difference. These are active ways within your control that you can help to normalize your blood pressure numbers and reduce your risk.

According to the National Stroke Association, moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, for 30 minutes two or more times a week can help prevent a stroke. All physical activity makes a difference – break it up into 10 to 15-minute segments if needed, to reach the full recommended 150 minutes for the week[1]. Higher physical activity levels have also been found to lower stress, another risk factor for stroke.

  1. Communicate with your doctor regularly. Having an ongoing dialogue with your physician about your heart health and blood pressure is really the best way to know if you are having a good handle on your condition, or if your treatment plan needs to be tweaked. Share your blood pressure trends with him/her regularly and let your doctor know if there have been major changes in your life or health that could affect your condition.
  1. Make it easy and on the go. There are now heart health apps available that help you store, track and share your heart health data with ease, such as the Omron Connect App – it links with all connected Omron blood pressure monitors, so you can store your readings, track them over time and share them electronically with your physicians.

Black Girls RUN! was created because of the disparities that plague our community. Genetics play a role in high blood pressure risk, and research shows the occurrence of high blood pressure is higher in the African American community. More than 40 percent of African-American men and women have hypertension. Health statistics show that African-Americans develop high blood pressure at younger ages, and may experience complications associated with high blood pressure earlier too, so it’s crucial to monitor your blood pressure regularly.  The time is now to make healthy living a choice, not an option!

The good news is, anyone can improve their odds of preventing and beating heart attack and stroke by understanding the risks that come with high blood pressure and taking steps to address them.

Black Girls RUN! has been provided compensation and the blood pressure monitoring equipment for this campaign.

[1] National Stroke Association: http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/preventing-stroke/lifestyle-risk-factors

 




Jay Ell Alexander
Jay Ell Alexander

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