Grand Strand YMCA launches program for people with hypertension - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Grand Strand YMCA launches program for people with hypertension

(Source: WMBF News) (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The YMCA of Coastal Carolina is launching a new program to help people diagnosed with hypertension take control of their heart health. The YMCA recognizes there are a lot of health disparities in the U.S. and is getting more involved in chronic disease management and prevention.

The “Y” already has programs based on diabetes prevention and surviving cancer. This new pilot program is focused on hypertension, which is another way of saying you are diagnosed with high blood pressure. The chief operating officer of the YMCA, Shane Riffle, said about 80 million Americans are hypertensive, and only about 50 percent have it under control. This new program is going to teach you to manage your health and make the right choices so you can avoid some serious consequences.

"It's been called the silent killer,” said Riffle. “People who are hypertensive have obviously cardiac problems, stroke. So it really can kill people. And because you don't have symptoms, like you would a heart attack, it can kind of sneak up on you."

If you take part in this program, you will meet with a health coach every other week for four months. Each session will last about 15 minutes. First, the coach will take your blood pressure. And then you’ll chat with the coach to discuss what you’re doing right, you’re exercise and diet, and you’ll attend four nutrition seminars. The couch will help you focus on what positive changes you’re making to improve your health and manage your blood pressure. You will also get to keep the blood pressure monitor so you can keep making positive changes even when the program is over.

"Studies show that if you take control and you look at and monitor your blood pressure regularly, you're more likely to make subtle changes in your lifestyle that will positively affect your blood pressure and lower it,” said Riffle.

There are four requirements you must meet before being allowed to participate in the program:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be diagnosed as hypertensive
  • You must have no recent cardiac events
  • You must have no risk of atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias

If you meet those requirements, you can come into the YMCA and ask to sign up with the program. You’ll fill out some paper work and then get paired up with a health coach. Riffle said about 70 percent of the people who have completed this program so far have lowered their blood pressure significantly.

This YMCA location in the Grand Strand is just one of 15 in the country to be at this phase of launching the pilot program. According to Riffle, hypertension is particularly a problem in low-income families. And the Grand Strand area was selected as a test pilot location because of the demographics and the ability of the YMCA to maintain the program. So for anyone participating in this pilot program, you’re helping them refine how the process works so the program can help other people in other parts of the country as the program expands.

If you would like more information on the program and how to sign up, click here: http://www.coastalcarolinaymca.org/healthy-living/chronic-disease-management

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