High Blood Pressure? Fitness Classes start Oct. 2

Do you have high blood pressure? From 2000 to 2016, death rates due to hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Jefferson County have been consistently higher compared to the rest of the state of Florida.
Hypertension is called the silent killer because it can lead to heart failure, heart attack, and stroke and many people with high blood pressure don’t have obvious symptoms.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association also recently released new guidelines for blood pressure. The new guidelines recommend diagnosis at a lower blood pressure than previously recommended so you may want to review your blood pressure.
Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are:
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
This new definition of high blood pressure is expected to result in almost half of US adults having high blood pressure.
The Health Department and Extension Office will be offering free Blood Pressure Self Monitoring Classes at the Jefferson County Extension Office starting Oct. 2.
Class participants will receive a free three month gym membership to Monticello Health and Fitness, a fitness tracker, and other giveaways at each class.
Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 for eight weeks. Each class will feature a healthy recipe and focus on different healthy lifestyle habits that can help reduce and control blood pressure.
The classes will cover a variety of topics including evaluating your risk, building activity into your life, the DASH diet, decoding food labels, reforming recipes and eating our sensibly.
Participants will learn strategies for changing exercise and eating habits, try heart healthy recipes, and receive practical tips and resources for incorporating healthy practices into their everyday lives.
To register there is a one page registration form and a simple doctor referral form. Registration forms are available for pick up at the Jefferson County Health Department and the Jefferson County Extension Office. Registration forms are due to the Health Department by Sept. 27th.
If you haven’t checked your blood pressure recently, many grocery stores and pharmacies have free stations where you can take your blood pressure.
To register for the upcoming classes, contact Chelsey at the Health Department at (850) 342-0170 Ext. 1230 or chelsey.mccoy@flhealth.gov.
For more tips and information on upcoming events, check out the UF IFAS Jefferson County Extension Facebook page or give us a call at (850) 342-0187.