Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is offering free blood pressure checks on Feb. 18 from 9 a.m.-noon in the hospital's main lobby, 214 East 23rd St. Clinical staff from Cheyenne Cardiology Associates and the hospital's cardiac rehabilitation unit will take the readings and hand out free "know your numbers" wallet cards to each participant.
Cheyenne Regional is offering the checks to emphasize the link between high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and to encourage people to know their numbers and get appropriate treatment if they have high blood pressure. The checks are also being offered to focus attention on heart disease prevention in February, which is American Heart Month.
High blood pressure means that the force of blood against a person's artery walls is too strong, causing damage to the arteries, heart and kidneys.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the United States. It is also a major risk factor for congestive heart failure and kidney disease and can lead to vision loss, erectile dysfunction, memory loss, angina and peripheral artery disease.
High blood pressure is called the "silent killer" because it often has no warning signs or symptoms.
In 2011 more than 28 percent of Wyoming adults reported being told by a health professional that they had high blood pressure, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The BRFSS is a telephone survey developed by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on behavioral risks among adults that could lead to premature illness or death.
As people age, their risk for developing high blood pressure increases. The 2011 BRFSS shows that 43 percent of Wyoming residents ages 55 to 64 years and 56 percent of residents 65 years and older reported being told by a health professional that they had high blood pressure.
The CDC reports that most U.S. adults with high blood pressure are not being treated effectively, despite the fact that high blood pressure can be treated with low-cost medications.