According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (2019), being overweight, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol plus smoking are major risk factors for heart disease. Three-quarters of South Carolina residents have one or more risk factors. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country (Abbasi, 2017). Let’s make changes at least one risk at a time, starting with high blood pressure control.

Within the scope of knowledge, high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” One-third of Americans are living with high blood pressure (SCDHEC, 2019). Blood pressure is termed normal when it is <120/80. It is high when it is 120-129/

There are many actions that you can take to make your pressure better. Weight loss with a fit diet called the DASH diet is known to lower blood pressure (Cifu & Davis, 2017). Other choices are low salt intake, control of drinking alcohol and exercise (Cifu & Davis, 2017). It can be very good to buy a blood pressure monitor that you can use at home. You can go to your local pharmacy, too.

Not taking your meds is a big issue when it comes to blood pressure control. According to Brown and Bussells (2011), approximately 50% of people do not take their meds as told by their doctor. So, the full effect of blood pressure meds is not realized. Risk factors can include complex drug routines, communication blocks or fear of adverse effects. Limited access to care, drug cost and erectile issues, and some people just simply forget (Brown & Bussells, 2011).

The key here is simple: Always connect and speak with your doctor and pharmacist about any concerns you might have. Some answers they might offer is switching to a more suitable medication. They might offer resources as well. Using logs and pill planner can help, too. Taking these small steps can stop serious future health issues. This also can improve your value of life. It is time to take control of your health and get your life back!

ZENOBIA P. ROBINSON

Francis Marion University

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