Help Employees to Reduce High Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have recently released new guidelines for high blood pressure. This change drops the previous standard of 140/90 down to 130/80. Using this new threshold, over half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can have serious effects on our overall health, which may lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease or failure, and vision loss, just to name a few.
The good news is there are many things you can do to help your employees lower their blood pressure. Here are a few ideas:
- Clean the food – Offer healthier food options in the office. Replace snacks that are high in sodium with fruits or vegetables. Give your vending machines a total health makeover. It’s easier for employees to make healthy snack choices when unhealthy options are not readily available.
- Walk and talk – Try to incorporate movement throughout the day as much as possible. This can be done through walking meetings, group stretches at the start of meetings, or organizing active breaks together.
- Manage the stress – Stress is an inevitable part of life; however, how we handle the stress can have the greatest impact on our health. Create a safe environment where employees can express their struggles or frustrations in a healthy way. Make breakrooms a place where employees can quietly relax and enjoy their time. This can be through coloring, reading, listening to music, or enjoying the company of a colleague.
- Know your numbers – Encourage employees to get their blood pressure checked frequently. Set up a blood pressure cuff in your breakroom, or list local areas where employees can get checked other than with their provider; often stations can be found at local grocery stores and pharmacies.
Check. Change. Control. – The American Heart Association now has an online tracker to track blood pressure readings and make connections to help lower blood pressure. The site also offers an implementation toolkit for employers to run a four-month educational campaign encouraging employees to regularly track their blood pressure.