American Heart Month
The month of February is dedicated to Heart Health. The leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke is high blood pressure (hypertension).
Nearly half the adults in the United States (47%) have high blood pressure. In 2019, more than 500,000 deaths were related to high blood pressure. (2)
High blood pressure can be dangerous, and what makes it worse is the large majority of people with high blood pressure don't know they have high blood pressure.
Screening is the best way to catch high blood pressure before it causes problems with your heart, kidneys, and other organs.
Did you know that blood pressure checks are routine at most medical appointments?
For virtual medicine this can be completed with a home monitor, and our healthcare providers can help you pick the right monitor for your needs.
Who should be screened for high blood pressure: (3)
Everyone ages 3 and up should be screened at least every 2-5 years if no risks factors.
Every one with risk factors need screening at least once a year.
People 40 and older need screening at least once a year.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
African American Race
Being overweight or obese
Lack of physical activity
Too much salt in your diet
Family history of high blood pressure
Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 or 2 drinks a day)
Chronic medical conditions (diabetes, sleep apnea, kidney disease)
Having your labs (blood work) checked is also important to monitor your kidney function, liver function, thyroid function, and cholesterol. Many insurance companies cover screening lab work once a year. Even if you don't have insurance or they don't cover your labs they are offered for a reduced price at Quick Visit Now and Quick Visit Urgent Care
#Selfcare is also important for your heart health.
Over the last 2 years with the pandemic, this is even more important. It is important to add some sort of physical activity everyday. Start with something simple like adding a short walk or park at the back of the parking lot.
Find an accountability partner - someone you can count on when you are not motivated. You can create goals with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. Find a fun activity like dancing to help you be active and meet new people.
Explore new cooking recipes, focusing on low sodium, low unhealthy fats, and low sugar. Post new recipes to social media. Explore meal prep companies that offer healthy alternatives for busy families.
Manage stress with things like meditation, yoga, a warm bath, message, exercise, or reading a good book. Try and reach and maintain a healthy weight. Snack on fruits and veggies instead of sweets between meals or when you feel hungry.
Getting enough sleep is important for heart heath. People who sleep six hours or less may have higher increases in blood pressure. It is best to get between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. (4)
Sleep apnea also increases your risk of high blood pressure. If you or a loved one snores, stops breathing at night, wakes with a headache, or is sleepy during the day you could have sleep apnea. Screening for this can be done at home with a sleep study.
Decreasing alcohol intake is important for your heart health.
Did you know it is recommended that men have 2 or less drinks per day, and woman have 1 or less drink per day?
This will lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. (5)
Prevention is the key to heart health. By finding issues early and making changes you can prevent long term damage to your heart.
Kimberly Catlin is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Quick Visit Now. After serving in the US Marine Corps, she went to UT Tyler for her undergraduate degree, while going through the program she worked as an LVN. Upon completion of her BSN in 2006 she worked in the Emergency Room and ICU as a registered nurse. In 2011 she graduated with her Masters in Nursing and obtained her Nurse Practitioner license. She spent the next 10 years working family practice, internal medicine, pulmonary, sleep and critical care. In April of 2020, she started with Quick Visit Urgent Care in Henderson, Texas. She moved full-time to Quick Visit Now as a virtual medicine provider in November 2020. She was promoted to management and Quick Visit Now Coordinator in October 2021. With her years of experience, she enjoys providing evidenced based practice to all ages.