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C.O. Health Council urges: Get blood pressure checked


February is “Heart Health Month,” and The Central Oregon Health Council and its partners want to help everyone live longer, healthier lives.

During the month of February, COHC and its community partners encourage people to get their blood pressure checked by their primary care provider during their yearly health exam, or at a local pharmacy. When blood pressure is checked at a primary care provider’s office, they can help individuals maintain a healthy blood pressure through lifestyle choices, or help manage it through medication.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States and having uncontrolled blood pressure has devastating effects on heart, brain, and kidneys,” said Dr. Divya Sharma, Medical Director at Central Oregon Independent Practice Association.

“Unfortunately, most of the time people don’t feel any symptoms and then one day they could have a massive heart attack or become bed ridden because of a major stroke due to high blood pressure. This is why it’s called ‘the silent killer’ and why it’s so important to have your blood pressure checked.”

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is also one of the most treatable diseases, but can only be detected through measurement.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates as many as 30% of people aged 18 to 65 have high blood pressure and only about half of those have it properly treated. (More high blood pressure facts can be found at:

There are many things people can do to help make their blood pressure healthier. Eating a well-balanced and low-salt diet, limiting alcohol, being physically active, being at a healthy weight, not using tobacco products, and understanding how certain prescription medications can affect someone’s blood pressure are just a few examples.

The COHC and numerous other partnering organizations have come together to develop nine workgroups to focus on the specific health areas called out in the Central Oregon’s 2016-2019 Regional Health Improvement Plan. One of these workgroups is the Cardiovascular Disease Clinical workgroup.

This workgroup has developed a number of educational materials to help people in our communities learn more about blood pressure. The educational materials share information such as, how to properly take a blood pressure, things that may raise blood pressure, and the benefits of quitting tobacco.

All of these resources can be found in English and Spanish under the “Developed Materials” section of this Cardiovascular Disease Clinical webpage at:

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