The NYC Health Department announced "Take the Pressure Off, NYC!," its first citywide initiative to prevent and control high blood pressure, at the second annual NYC High Blood Pressure Coalition Summit on Wednesday.
The summit gathered over 100 stakeholders from faith- and community-based organizations, health care systems, pharmacies and government representatives. The new-found coalition identified three key areas which will serve as a roadmap for Take the Pressure Off, NYC!: high blood pressure awareness, heart-healthy behaviors and treatment adherence.
More than one in four New Yorkers have high blood pressure, a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two conditions that contribute to more than one in five premature deaths among New Yorkers each year, according to city data.
Communities of color are more likely to have high blood pressure. Black adults are 1.9 times more likely to die prematurely of heart disease than Whites and 3.1 times more likely to die prematurely of stroke. Latino adults were 1.9 times more likely to die prematurely due to stroke than White adults.
"Heart disease is one of the leading causes of early death for New Yorkers and raised blood pressure is one of the key reasons why," said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Sonia Angell and chair of the Take the Pressure Off, NYC! steering committee. "By increasing awareness, supporting healthy communities and improving adherence to treatment, together, we can help reduce raised blood pressure and save lives."
The Take the Pressure Off, NYC! initiative aims to achieve the following:
- All New Yorkers will know and understand their blood pressure numbers, why high blood pressure is dangerous and how to get care for high blood pressure.
- All New Yorkers will live, work, learn and play in environments where preventing and managing high blood pressure is the easy choice.
- All New Yorkers will have access to the right treatment, at the right time, to achieve and maintain an optimal blood pressure.
The coalition plans to realize these goals by increasing access to and awareness of free blood pressure checks in the community; promoting Health Bucks, farmers markets and healthy eating demonstration programs, and promoting blood pressure self-management.
"High blood pressure is a silent killer," said Assistant City Council Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. "Everyone should have their blood pressure checked regularly. Treatment is an absolute 'must' for those at risk. Nothing is more important than health and family."
Earlier this year, the health department partnered with nearly 1,300 NYC pharmacies to provide free blood pressure checks and placed 55 blood pressure kiosks in areas with high rates of high blood pressure, including North and Central Brooklyn. The locations can be found online on the NYC Health Map. To find more resources about high blood pressure, visit nyc.gov/health and search "high blood pressure."