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Many At Risk For Heart Disease

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They call it the silent killer. Many people have no symptoms, and can often increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. That's why 'Live Well Sioux Falls' has made it their mission to screen people for high blood pressure. That's exactly what nearly 8,000 people in the Sioux Empire did throughout the month of April, thanks to an event called 'The Big Squeeze'.
City of Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken said, "What we need is a big wake-up call and that's what the big squeeze is all about."

But the results don't sit well with 'Live Well Sioux Falls'. They say out of those 8,000, less than half of the adults who were screened had a normal reading. They say 41 percent were found to be 'at risk' for heart attack and stroke and another 18 percent had reading in the 'high' or 'critically high' categories.

Frankin said, "Just over one-third of them had never been told they had high blood pressure. That's significant. There's our risk right there in our community."

Even more disturbing, those who have been told, aren't getting their blood pressure under control, by either not getting the medication they need or they're simply not taking it.

Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center Director Amy Olson said, "Heredity plays a role but certainly our high fat, high car, high sodium diets combined with lifestyle are to blame in addition to unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol abuse."

Making it Live Well's goal to not only screen but to educate.

Starting at age 20, The American Heart Association recommends a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every two years if your blood pressure is at the normal range. The normal range of blood pressure is anything less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic.

In 2014, 'Live Well Sioux Falls' hopes to recruit local colleges and universities to participate. They also hope to add an additional screening to the event.

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