In the real estate industry, they say it’s all about location. On World Hypertension Day, Charlotte placed two new self-monitoring blood pressure kiosks in key areas of the city to make the greatest impact. Goodwill Opportunity Campus located on the west side of Charlotte serves more than 500,000 clients, staff and visitors annually. Camino Community Center dedicated specifically to the wellbeing of Hispanics living in Mecklenburg County is located in northeast Charlotte.
More than 240,000 people in Mecklenburg County have high blood pressure. The national average is even higher with an estimated 46 percent of U.S. adults falling into this life-threatening category, about 103 million people. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease and can be linked to more than 400,000 U.S. deaths, each year. To address this growing number, the American Heart Association teamed up with the Albemarle Foundation and CVS Health to place two blood pressure kiosks in at-risk and underserved communities of the Queen City.
“The AHA brought us a way to make a big impact on the health of our community,” said Sandra Holub, Executive Director, Albemarle Foundation. “By being the first in the nation to donate a local self-monitoring blood pressure kiosk at Goodwill Opportunity Campus, our sponsorship to the AHA was matched by CVS Health which allowed Charlotte to receive a second kiosk that will be placed at Camino Community Health Center. Both locations serve at risk populations who are more likely to die of heart disease and stroke.”
The American Heart Association is committed to health equity and breaking down barriers that obstruct access to care and healthier environments. Today, 59 percent of African American men and 56 percent of African American women have high blood pressure, the highest among any race in the world. Uncontrolled high blood pressure has life-altering consequences, but increasing physical activity, managing weight, reducing the amount of sodium in your diet and eating more fruits and vegetables can prevent the onset or worsening of hypertension.
Hispanics are one of the largest and fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States, currently estimated at 13 percent of the population in Charlotte Mecklenburg, and 17 percent of the Nation’s population, a number that is expected to reach 30 percent by 2050. According to the US Census, there are more than 137,000 Hispanics living in Mecklenburg County. Hispanics also experience a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that high blood pressure is manageable and there are tools available to raise awareness and reduce risk. Each blood pressure kiosk will include educational materials (English and Spanish) as well as a tracker to record your numbers and assess your risk. Health and wellness programs will be offered for staff and visitors at each location. A public service campaign from the American Heart Association to educate the community on high blood pressure and the risks associated with it began earlier this month.
“Last fall, the American Heart Association began to strategically focus on the public health priority zip codes with the greatest need in Charlotte. Through research, the AHA has learned that 44 percent of the people living in these six priority zip codes have high blood pressure compared to the 27 percent of residents living outside of these areas. Placing blood pressure kiosks at Goodwill Opportunity Campus and Camino Community Center, will help us address issues with access to care and healthier environments; while hopefully, unravelling what neighborhood and individual factors can be improved to reduce hypertension, cardiovascular disease and mortality,” said Hector Salgado, Community Impact Director for the American Heart Association.
Ribbon cuttings for both locations were held on May 17, 2019 and the blood pressure kiosks are now open to the public.