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Fill-in-Blank News Release for
County Health Departments

High Blood Pressure

For Release: (Date)
Contact: (County) Administrator
_____ County Health Department
(Phone)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious condition that affects more than 520,000 Oklahomans. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, but it can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and blindness. "Once high blood pressure occurs, it usually lasts a lifetime. But by taking action, Oklahomans can prevent and control it," said _____, administrator, _____ County Health Department.

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). "Blood pressure should be kept at or below 140/90. In the past, many physicians relied on diastolic blood pressure to diagnose hypertension. Oklahomans may have heard that diastolic blood pressure counts more. That may be true for younger people. But we now know that as Oklahomans get older, systolic blood pressure becomes more important," _____ said.

"May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, and it's the perfect time to begin to sound the alarm: Don't ignore your systolic blood pressure. If you're middle aged or older, it's a better blood pressure indicator than diastolic of your risk of heart disease and stroke," _____ continued.

Some Oklahomans are more likely to get high blood pressure. It is especially common among African Americans, who tend to develop it earlier and more often than whites. Also, many Oklahomans tend to develop high blood pressure as they get older, but hypertension is not a part of healthy aging. Other Oklahomans who are more likely to develop hypertension include those that are overweight and those with a family history of high blood pressure.

"Oklahomans can take steps to prevent high blood pressure, or for those who already have it, to keep it under control," _____ said. S/he advised following these steps:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan, which includes foods lower in salt and sodium.
  • If you drink alcohol beverages, do so in moderation.
  • If you have high blood pressure and are on prescribed medication, take it as directed.

For more information about high blood pressure, contact the _____ County Health Department at (phone number).

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