Local program helping to lower blood pressure

Friday, June 12, 2015

Arkansas ranks number one in stroke deaths and number five in heart disease deaths. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor in those types of deaths, but too often people do not make lifestyle changes when they learn they have high blood pressure. That's something Dr. Vonda Houchin, at Harrisburg Family Medical Center, is trying to change through a public/private partnership with the Poinsett County Health Unit and the Arkansas Department of Health.

Dr. Houchin has partnered with Belinda Stillwell, an RN with the Poinsett County Health Unit, and Dr. Appathurai Balamurugan, with the Arkansas Department of Health, to start a program called Community Team-Based Care for Hypertension Management. The program identifies patients with high blood pressure and offers them help with managing it. For those who agree to participate in the program, they undergo frequent blood pressure checks, get information on dietary changes and programs for physical activity, and keep a log measuring their progress.

"Part of it is lifestyle modification," Dr. Balamurugan said. "You can put people on medications, but it has to work hand-in-hand with lifestyle changes."

See the 6-11-15 edition of the Poinsett County Democrat Tribune for the full story.

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