Controlling the silent killer

The CDC has stated that, “the silent killer dangerously affects one in two adults, causing almost 500,000 deaths per year in the United States.” Take care of yourself this Halloween season with a blood pressure check to avoid any unwanted scares!

A blood pressure monitor used to detect hypertension. Photo by Nichole Terry.

It’s officially autumn, which means yummy pumpkin lattes, cinnamon scented candles, the beauty of changing leaves, and Halloween festivities. 

Autumn also marks the time of year where thrill-seekers can enjoy all things spooky, attend haunted houses, and watch scary movies, explains Allegra Ringo, contributor for The Atlantic. Although fear is a body’s healthy response to fear, some people actually enjoy the experience, Ringo further explains. 

Although October is the time of year where scary is fun, health is no laughing matter. Dr. Craig Weber, a board-certified occupational medicine specialist, warned that seasonal changes in the weather during autumn and winter may have a negative impact on a person’s blood pressure, resulting in dangerous hypertension. High blood pressure, or hypertension (nicknamed the “silent killer” per the American Heart Association), has no obvious symptoms, is difficult to detect, and is notoriously dangerous. Additionally, according to the CDC, “Tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure … [and] the only way to know if you have it is to get your blood pressure measured.”

UVU offers free health screenings through the wellness program twice a month for students and employees. A wellness coach will administer the screening, which includes blood pressure and body composition, and the participant will also receive a copy of their results and be able to ask any questions.  

Trevor Carter, director of UVU’s wellness programs, encourages students to “stop by every month and check [their] blood pressure and body composition if [they] are trying to make lifestyle changes.” Carter also emphasized that, “It is always a good idea to check in and see how you are doing. We provide the resources for students to progress, if they would like.”

Dr. Ivan V. Pacold, a cardiology professor at Loyola University explains that, “high blood pressure is dangerous because it means there is too much resistance inside your arteries.  It increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney failure.” According to the FDA, “Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high (stage 1) if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away.”

The CDC has stated that, “the silent killer dangerously affects one in two adults, causing almost 500,000 deaths per year in the United States.” Take care of yourself this Halloween season with a blood pressure check to avoid any unwanted scares! 

To sign up for your free health screening, visit the UVU wellness website or call 801-863-5553.  

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