Weekly Feature

2018-06-14 / Local News

Clerk, Mercy Hospital release blood pressure results

Heart disease and stroke remain top health concerns for Erie County

Kearns Kearns Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and C.J. Urlaub, president and CEO of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, recently announced the successful results of the “Heart Healthy Blood Pressure Screenings” conducted at five of the Erie County Auto Bureaus during National Heart Month in February.

This first-time program was a collaborative effort between the clerk’s office and the hospital to help fight heart disease and stroke in the Western New York community.

According to the “Heart Healthy Blood Pressure Screenings” report and findings, registered nurses from Catholic Health conducted a total of 220 blood pressure readings throughout the month of February at the auto bureaus. Of those 220 blood pressure readings, 38 percent, or 84 participants, were found to have high blood pressure.

This result is indicative of an overall health issue in Erie County as it relates to stroke and cardiovascular disease, the clerk said. Research shows that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Erie County and the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. A resident in Erie County is 33 percent more likely to die from heart disease than the average U.S citizen and 60 percent more likely to die from stroke than the aggregate New York State range.

Addressing this data, Kearns and Urlaub stressed the importance of residents in Erie County having their blood pressure regularly checked. According to Erie County Community Health Assessment, only 58 percent of Buffalo and surrounding area residents report visiting their doctors to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, compared to 75 percent nationally. Kearns and Urlaub highlighted the benefit of the medical field and government working together to reach out to the community and curb the trend in cardiovascular-related diseases in the county.

“It is discouraging to see numbers that Erie County residents experience higher than-average rates of cardiovascular disease than the average citizen in this country and state,” Kearns said. “The ‘Heart Healthy Blood Pressure Screenings’ was an excellent initiative to begin addressing this health concern in a different and innovative way.

“Partnering the great resources at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo with the high volume of traffic seen at the Erie County Auto Bureaus offered a unique opportunity to address health in our community. I look forward to future ventures and will continue to urge residents to get their blood pressure taken.”

“Our goal as one of the largest hospitals serving the Buffalo region and a partner in this Healthy Heart Auto Bureau Blood Pressure Screening program is to help make our community healthier by reducing the prevalence of heart disease and stroke,” Urlaub said. “We are pleased that this first-time effort to offer free blood pressure screening in this non-traditional setting of DMV offices was effective.”

Urlaub said the hospital looks forward to continuing its partnership with the clerk’s office to offer similar health screenings in the future.

Joining the clerk and Urlaub to advocate the importance of blood pressure screenings was Angela Royster, an employee at the Erie County Auto Bureau who took part in the February event. Royster was found to have high blood pressure and after following up with her doctor, was able to address potentially serious health problems.

“I commend Ms. Royster for sharing her story and experience with the blood pressure screenings,” Kearns said. “It is stories like this that emphasize the necessity to be pervasive about these health concerns. While it is easy in our hectic, day-to-day lives to put health and wellness on the back burner, the advantages of catching a health issue early on is far greater than staying in the dark. Knowing your blood pressure can literally save your life.”

In November 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines that change how high blood pressure, or hypertension, is diagnosed.

Previously, it wasn’t until an adult’s blood pressure reached 140 mmHg or higher systolic or 90 mmHg or higher diastolic that high blood pressure was diagnosed. According to the new parameters, high blood pressure should be treated at 130/80 rather than 140/90, as that is the point when risk for heart attack, stroke and other consequences for hypertension nearly doubles.

The highest blood pressure reading was recorded at 200/101 while the lowest blood pressure reading was recorded at 106/58.

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