The Wyoming Department of Health announced on Wednesday that they are offering a new, free program targeting high blood pressure, which includes blood pressure self-monitoring, education, and other forms of support.

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The program is called the Healthy Heart Ambassador Program, and it will be offered at no cost to Wyoming adults who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

“High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease,” said Amber Nolte, Chronic Disease Prevention Program manager with WDH. “Hypertension is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’ because it does not have obvious symptoms.”

Nolte stated that heart disease was the second leading cause of death in Wyoming last year, with more than 1,100 deaths, according to Vital Statistics Services.

“High blood pressure is when the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high,” Nolte said. “Unfortunately, many people with high blood pressure don’t realize it so we want to help them learn if they are at risk and then give them the tools to do something about it.”

Nolte said that risk factors for high blood pressure are based on health conditions, lifestyle, and family history. He stated that while factors such as family history are out of our control, there are things we can  do to protect ourselves and lower our risk of heart disease. Modifiable risk factors include:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • An unhealthy diet, especially one high in sodium
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Stress

The Wyoming Department of Health stated that the Healthy Heart Ambassador Program is "a four-month program that focuses on regular home self-monitoring of blood pressure using proper measuring techniques, one-on-one consultations with a trained program facilitator, group-based nutrition education for better blood pressure management and support from the program facilitator."

As of now, the program is only offered through partner agencies in Carbon, Fremont, Hot Springs, Laramie, and Washakie counties, but Nolte said that it's hoped that the program will be offered on other Wyoming counties in the future.

For more information on this program, or to sign up, you can visit the Wyoming Department of Health website.

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