If your blood is boiling, then a new program offered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation might be for you.
Dubbed Activate, it’s designed for people with elevated blood pressure to help prevent the problem from getting worse.
“It’s a free six-month lifestyle change program,” said Jennifer Hassan, the foundation’s local manager for community fundraising.
I think an important point is: A lot of people don’t know what their blood pressure is.
“High blood pressure is the No. 1 risk factor for stroke,” she said. “It’s one of the top risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.”
In this region, Windsor and Essex have the highest death rates from heart attack compared to other communities.
“We’re really, really wanting to make an impact on people’s health,” Hassan said.
Across the country, 7.5 million Canadians have high blood pressure. If you’re over 40 years old, you can sign up for an appointment to be assessed for Activate by visiting heartandstroke.ca/activate.
“Activate will help you eat better, move more and manage stress with our free tools and resources,” the campaign’s website says.
Hassan says the foundation hopes 5,000 to 6,000 people across the country will sign up.
After booking an appointment, participants will get their blood pressure checked by a volunteer at a YMCA in London or St. Thomas. “Then if you’re a candidate, you’re automatically enrolled,” Hassan said.
As part of the program, participants will get a two-month free membership at the Y. They will also get free support from a health coach.
“After the six-month program is complete, you go back and have your pressure tested again,” Hassan said.
She added participants who are finishing up the program have seen benefits.
“We have seen a significant drop in their blood pressure,” Hassan said. At the very least, it will raise awareness of the risk factors for heart disease.
“I think an important point is: A lot of people don’t know what their blood pressure is.”