Free blood pressure checks mark American Heart month

NEW ULM — Brown County Health Services hosted free blood pressure checks at the New Ulm Community Center Monday.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and February being American Heart Month, the free blood pressure checks came at an opportune time.

Public Health registered nurse Kristine Leshovsky said the blood pressure checks are to help advocate health and cardiovascular awareness in the community.

“It’s just a screening to let them know if there might be an issue,” she said. “To just go see their doctor. We don’t diagnose, but we just let them know you might want to keep an eye on this.”

Leshovsky said free services such as check-ups at the community center offer quick and affordable means for people to catch cardiovascular issues early.

“For many people it’s where they catch blood pressure issues,” she said. “And they may end up going on medication.”

She said it’s a preventive action that Brown County Health offers the public. The free check-ups are usually offered the second Monday of every month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. Numbers suggest one in every fours deaths are attributed to heart-related diseases.

Leshovsky said Brown County Health advocates a few simple measures to help people reduce risks for heart disease and high blood pressure.

“We really advocate, as far as blood pressure, to watch that sodium,” she said. “Get up and be active for at least 10 minutes a day, watch what you eat and stress reduction. People don’t realize that.”

She said with Valentine’s Day this week, and people being focused on their loved ones, community members must not forget to also focus on themselves.

“Treat yourself good,” Leshovsky said. “People are always worried about each other. But if you’re not healthy, and you don’t take care of yourself, it’s hard to take care of others. So make sure you also show that love and compassion to yourself,” she said. “And then you can be better equipped to help others and your loved ones.”