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Saipan Tribune: Free blood pressure screenings (March 6, 2017)

Nursing students of the Northern Marianas College will hold free weekly blood pressure screenings at five grocery stores across Saipan in March and April.

Participating grocery stores are Welcome Market in San Roque, Kagman Market in Kagman, Han Nam Market in Koblerville, Twins Market in Dandan, and Joeten Superstore in Oleai.

This project intends to reach into villages to help CNMI residents prevent and control high blood pressure on Saipan.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., with support from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers and NMC, are participating in this project.

The pilot project, funded through the Million Hearts initiative of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aims to identify residents who may not know they have high blood pressure and connect them with the care they need.

The free blood pressure screening and referral will take place from March 6 to April 28, 2017.

Today, March 6, the team will be at the Welcome Supermarket in San Roque, from 3pm to 5pm.

On Tuesday, the team will be at the Kagman Supermarket in Kagman, from 3pm to 5pm.

On Wednesday, the team will be at the Han Nam Supermarket in Koblerville, from 3pm to 5pm.

On Thursday, the team will be at the Twins Supermarket in Dandan, from 3pm to 5pm.

On Saturday, the team will be at the Joeten Superstore in Oleai, from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Nursing students at the screening sites will be ready to help set up appointments with a medical provider and provide information on medical cost assistance programs. Educational information on high blood pressure and heart healthy diets will also be available at the screening sites.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, slowly and quietly damages the body for years, with people affected not knowing that they have it. When hypertension is not treated and controlled, hypertension can affect eyesight, and seriously damage the brain, blood vessels, heart and kidney functions. In many cases, untreated hypertension leads to heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, and many other serious health consequences including death. Hypertension is also a major drain on health care services, public and individual finances, the workforce, and the economy.

Although hypertension is a large health problem in the CNMI, it is a preventable and controllable condition. Regular physical activity, balanced meals, and maintaining a healthy weight decreases the risk of hypertension and can even help control this problem after diagnosis.

Effectively managing hypertension includes both lifestyle changes, and long-term medication, both of which are challenging when patients aren’t experiencing any symptoms.

Margarita Aldan, director of Public Health, is excited to see the results of this effort.

“This is an innovative approach to help residents assess their risk for hypertension and guide them to the care of a medical provider. We hope to find that this strategy makes a positive impact in the community. We’re thankful that we are partnering with such wonderful grocery store owners. They are letting us use their businesses for the health of the communities they serve. Combatting hypertension and its potential consequences must be a community-wide effort, and we’re fortunate to have these partners,” said Aldan.

For more information or to see how you can get involved, contact Kaitlyn Neises-Mocanu at [email protected] or call (670) 783-8427.

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