Here’s 1 simple thing that can be done at home to better manage health

Blood pressure wrist monitor. (Photo courtesy of American Heart Association.)

The last year has been a stressful one, and we’re all coping somehow -- or trying.

The problem is, whether the stress is building internally or you’ve found comfort in something like food, there are an array of things we do that can lead to high blood pressure.

Health risks from high blood pressure can include stroke, heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, vision loss and more.

Then, throw COVID-19 into the mix.

“Nearly one in two American adults have high blood pressure, putting them at higher risk for stroke and heart disease, and, potentially, severe complications from COVID-19,” the American Heart Association said in a news release. “Individuals with high blood pressure (heart diseases or stroke and diabetes) are more vulnerable to the coronavirus effects, with mortality rates two to three times higher than the general population.”

The American Heart Association says roughly 39 million Americans are at risk for serious health issues due to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Statistics from American Heart Association. (American Heart Association)

But here’s the thing: self-measured blood pressure monitoring is a proven approach that’s associated with improved blood pressure control, according to the American Heart Association.

“During COVID-19, our priority remains the wellbeing of our most vulnerable community members,” said American Heart Association Executive Director Jennifer Campbell. “As an organization, we are committed now more than ever, to provide our community with the needed resources to stay healthy.”

That’s a big deal, because out of the nearly 86 million adults in the United States with high blood pressure, about half do not have their condition under control. Many of them go undiagnosed.

As fewer people are doing in-person visits with doctors, it’s important to know how to successfully follow through with self monitoring at home.

First, you’ll need a monitoring device. Many of the following health centers are offering tools to help residents self monitor at home (click or tap on the location to learn more about each location):

So once you’re set up with a home monitoring device, here’s what you’ll need to know:

Blood pressure measurement instructions. (American Heart Association)

“One of our board priorities this year is empowering individuals to better manage their hypertension,” said Jonathan DeLuca, immediate-past chairman of the American Heart Association, Greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale board. “We are pleased to be providing the most vulnerable populations with educational materials and tools, like blood pressure cuffs, to help them successfully monitor their own health. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that individuals have the tools to manage heart conditions and other chronic diseases from the safety of their homes.”

Here’s another note we think is pretty cool: The American Heart Association says patients who engage in SMBP may be more likely to take action to improve their health in other ways. Can’t go wrong with that.

Click or tap here to learn more.