New AHA Blood Pressure Kiosks Serve as Self-Management Tool for At-Risk Communities
Addressing Hypertension in Charlotte Will Save Lives
CHARLOTTE—April 27, 2019 – More than 240,000 people in Mecklenburg County have high blood pressure: 130 mm Hg Systolic (upper number) and 80 mm Hg Diastolic (lower number). The national average is even higher with an estimated 46 percent of U.S. adults falling into this life-threatening category, about 103 million people. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease and can be linked to more than 400,000 U.S. deaths, each year. To address this growing number, the American Heart Association has teamed up with the Albemarle Foundation and CVS Health to place two blood pressure kiosks in Charlotte on May 17, 2019.
“The AHA brought us a way to make a big impact on the health of our community,” said Sandra Holub, Executive Director, Albemarle Foundation. “By being the first in the nation to donate a local self-monitoring blood pressure kiosk at Goodwill Opportunity Campus, our sponsorship to the AHA was matched by CVS Health which allowed Charlotte to receive a second kiosk that will be placed at Camino Community Health Center. Both locations serve at risk populations who are more likely to die of heart disease and stroke.”
The Albemarle Foundation was launched to power the giving potential of Albemarle Corporation employees. The Foundation supports employees as they work passionately each day to make a profound impact in their communities. To date, the Albemarle Foundation has granted over $34 million into the communities in which employees live and operate. The Foundation believes in the potential of every community to flourish and that by working together, they can make the communities even more prosperous, healthy and vibrant. Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a global specialty chemicals company that employs approximately 5,400 people and serves customers in approximately 100 countries.
The American Heart Association is committed to health equity and breaking down barriers that obstruct access to care and healthier environments. Today, 59 percent of African American men and 56 percent of African American women have high blood pressure, the highest among any race in the world. Uncontrolled high blood pressure has life-altering consequences, but increasing physical activity, managing weight, reducing the amount of sodium in your diet and eating more fruits and vegetables can prevent the onset or worsening of hypertension.
Hispanics are one of the largest and fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States, currently estimated at 13 percent of the population in Charlotte Mecklenburg, and 17 percent of the Nation’s population, a number that is expected to reach 30 percent by 2050. According to the US Census, there are more than 137,000 Hispanics living in Mecklenburg County. Hispanics also experience a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that high blood pressure is manageable and there are tools available to raise awareness and reduce risk. Each blood pressure kiosk will include educational materials (English and Spanish) as well as a tracker to record your numbers and assess your risk. Health and wellness programs will be offered for staff and visitors at each location. A public service campaign from the American Heart Association to educate the community on high blood pressure and the risks associated with it will begin next month.
“Recently, the American Heart Association began to strategically focus on the public health priority zip codes with the greatest need in Charlotte. Through research, the AHA has learned that 44 percent of the people living in these six priority zip codes have high blood pressure compared to the 27 percent of residents living outside of these areas. Placing blood pressure kiosks at Goodwill Opportunity Campus and Camino Community Center, will help us address issues with access to care and healthier environments; while hopefully, unravelling what neighborhood and individual-factors can be improved to reduce hypertension, cardiovascular disease and mortality,” said Jennifer Phillips, Executive Director for the American Heart Association.
Ribbon cuttings for both locations will be held on May 17, 2019 and are open to the public. For more information on high blood pressure and other health risks leading to heart disease and stroke, please visit heart.org or contact your local American Heart Association.