Blood Pressure - Know Your Numbers

January 3, 2022

The pandemic has impacted the health and wellbeing of billions of people. It’s important to note the effects include not just COVID-19 disease but also indirect mental and physical health issues.

This is complicated by another factor. In Ontario, statistics in early 2021 indicated in-person doctor visits had decreased by almost 80 per cent since the pandemic started.

A good question then is how many people are aware of their current health status?

In a study published in the journal Circulation at the end of 2021, researchers found that blood pressure had increased in adults in the U.S. during the pandemic compared to previous non pandemic years. The study involved almost half a million men and women of all ages.

In particular, the study found that each month during the pandemic blood pressure increased by an average of 1.1 to 1.2 millimetres (mmHg) for systolic blood pressure and 0.14 to 0.53 millimetres for diastolic blood pressure.

Someone who has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is at a greater risk of experiencing a stroke and developing heart disease. Although hypertension can often progress and go unnoticed, it is a condition that is easily identified with regular screening.

Research indicates lifestyle modifications can have a positive impact. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in salt, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol intake all help maintain a healthy blood pressure.

While the blood pressure study was conducted in the U.S., it is safe to assume Canadians are facing the same risk. That’s because systemic hypertension is the leading cause of global cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. And after cancer, cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada.

With less doctor visits, less opportunities to take a reading at a public place like a pharmacy, it’s imperative to remain proactive by monitoring blood pressure at home or work and keeping the lines of communication open with a health care provider.

An important aspect of the Med-I-Well Service’s Workplace Wellness Program is the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) offered to employees.

The Health Risk Assessment is a powerful tool for raising health awareness. The assessment provides the employee with their current health status, educates on ways to improve health, which ultimately helps prevent the onset of chronic diseases. The HRA also provides employees with an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a Health Coach about their results as well as answer any questions they have regarding their health.

During an assessment, the employee will receive the following readings: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, weight, waist circumference. Results are generated in less than 15 minutes and Health Coaches provide individualized advice, indicating whether changes could be made through lifestyle modifications or further follow up is recommended through a family physician. A follow up assessment helps employees track their health status to identify improvements or next steps.

At Med-I-Well Services, we believe awareness is the first step to prevention and good health.

Would your employees benefit from a Health Risk Assessment and an overall Workplace Wellness Program? Contact us at coach@mediwell.ca

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