Approximately half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, but many don’t know it, according to the American Heart Association. A new public service campaign from the American Heart Association, American Medical Association and Ad Council in partnership with HHS Office of Minority Health and Health Resources & Services Administration encourages all adults to take control by monitoring their blood pressure at home and sharing the numbers with their doctor.
The “Get Down with Your Blood Pressure” public service announcement uses catchy music and memorable dance moves to get the attention of people who have and are at increased risk for high blood pressure and negative health consequences associated with it, such as heart attack, stroke and severe complications of COVID-19. The campaign keeps it simple, and encourages those with high blood pressure to regularly follow four easy steps: “Get It, Slip It, Cuff It, Check It.” That means Get the blood pressure cuff, Slip it on, use the band to Cuff your arm, Check your blood pressure with a validated monitor and share the numbers with your doctor.
The campaign’s detailed instructional videos are available in English and Spanish. “This new campaign is a fun way to get people engaged in monitoring their blood pressure and keeping it under control — which can often feel daunting to many patients” – and is timely given that high blood pressure puts patients at higher risk of severe complications of COVID-19,” says American Medical Association president Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “We are committed to eliminating structural drivers of health inequities that place Black and Brown communities at increasing risk of heart disease,” Dr. Harmon adds.
The campaign emphasizes self-monitoring and encourages individuals to work with their doctors to create a personalized plan to manage and treat high blood pressure. Changes to unhealthy eating habits and increases in physical activity may be all it takes to get your blood pressure to a healthy range. However, sometimes it’s not that simple. If your doctor prescribes a blood pressure medication, be sure to take it as directed. “This campaign is part of the American Heart Association’s National Hypertension Control Initiative,” says Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., ScM, F.A.H.A., president of the American Heart Association, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research and Professor of Preventive Medicine, Medicine, and Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. “The initiative encompasses direct education and training on blood pressure measurement and management with health care professionals in community health centers and community-based organizations. We are meeting people where they are with access to blood pressure education and resources to reduce high blood pressure in communities that need it most.