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Helping With High Blood Pressure Among African Americans

Helping With High Blood Pressure Among African Americans

In the state of Virginia, 45.3% of African Americans have hypertension or high blood pressure (HBP). HBP increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, and it can cause permanent damage to the heart before you even notice any symptoms. It’s often referred to as the “silent killer.” Not only is HBP more severe in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life, according to the American Heart Association.

Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC) has partnered with the Rappahannock Area YMCA to deliver the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program, which has helped participants in our area for over five years to manage their blood pressure. The purpose of this initiative is to begin to correct the health disparities that exist in our community for African Americans, specifically around heart disease.

Participants will work with a trained Healthy Heart Ambassador for the duration of four months and will be encouraged to:

  • Self-measure their blood pressure at least two times per month using an easy-to-use, portable blood pressure cuff provided free of charge
  • Attend two brief, virtual consultations per month with a trained Healthy Heart Ambassador
  • Attend monthly virtual nutrition education seminars teaching healthier eating habits, including reducing sodium

MWHC will provide additional monthly support for a total of one year. This service is completely FREE, and portable blood pressure cuffs will be provided upon request at no cost.

How does this program benefit you?

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased awareness of triggers that elevate blood pressure
  • Enhanced knowledge to develop healthier eating habits
  • Stay connected with MWHC by allowing us to provide you with educational materials and resources to better manage your blood pressure.

Participants must meet the following criteria to participate in the program:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Must not have experienced a recent cardiac event
  • Must not have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias
  • Must not be at risk for lymphedema

Mary Washington Healthcare is committed to improving the health of our community and we look forward to connecting with you.

ShelittaMeet Shelitta Barnes, a nurse with Mary Washington Medical Group and a current participant in the program. Shelitta has found the program a great source of information. She's come to realize that effectively controlling hypertension is more than just taking a pill. "You must actively change your mindset to reduce stress and anxiety along with your diet and increasing physical activity. I appreciate the program because it offers me an accountability partner that I meet with monthly. She also provides ample opportunities for discussion and activities relating to stress reduction, diet, and exercise.”

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, we invite you to complete the participant interest form below.