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Why Your Worksite Wellness Program Shouldn't Ignore Blood Pressure

Posted Aug 12 2013 4:38pm

heartAre you educating your employees about blood pressure? If not, you should be. High blood pressure impacts one in three adults in the U.S., making it one of the most common chronic conditions in the country. Plus, it typically develops without signs or symptoms, so many people don't realize they have it. 

Blood pressure represents the pressure of the blood against the wall of the arteries when the heart beats and when the heart is at rest. High blood pressure can have serious impacts on health. The increased tension on the arterial walls (hypertension) increases the risk for having a stroke, developing heart and kidney disease and blindness.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that hypertension is one of the 10 most expensive health conditions for U.S. employers. In 2010, the estimated direct and indirect cost of high blood pressure was $76.6 billion.

recent study showed yet another reason for keeping blood pressure under control. High blood pressure in people with a genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease may spur development of brain plaque, a hallmark of the age-related brain disorder. "Maintaining good vascular health by avoiding or controlling diseases like hypertension has important benefits beyond keeping your heart healthy. It may promote good brain health as we age," said lead researcher Karen Rodrigue, an assistant professor of behavioral and brain sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be prevented and controlled. The bad news is less than half of the population with high blood pressure actually has it under control. Here's some ways you can help your organization control blood pressure:

Educate your employees. Make sure they know the dangers of hypertension and pre-hypertension. Have TotalWellness provide blood pressure screenings or do a full biometric screening so all employees know their blood pressure.

Get them moving. Being physically active dramatically lowers a person’s risk for developing high blood pressure. In fact, regular exercise can cut it in half. Encourage your employees to be active by sponsoring company-wide fitness events, walking meetings and active lunch breaks.

Keep them balanced. Help employees manage stress at work. Encourage social and team building activities and create space for meditation. 

Employers can impact hypertension by creating wellness programs that enable healthy lifestyle choices. Every point drop in blood pressure could mean that much more health and that much less risk for dangers like: heart attack and stroke.

Image Credit: seyed mostafa zamani

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