It‘s a new year, a new beginning, a time when hope shines light on all the things we want to change in our lives. Whether that means spending more time with family, cutting back your sugar intake, working out more, swearing less (or more), trying new things—whatever it is—it usually aligns with a pretty significant change in our daily behaviors. And we all know that is never easy.
My resolution proves that change is hard, as it happens to be the same every year (2016 is my year!): find more time to work out. I know, it’s very cliché, but I’m a firm believer that busy is the new lazy and think that 2016 should be the year we all focus a little more on ourselves.
My interim roommates (parents) are also striving to be healthier this year. They’re both in their early to-mid 60s and have high blood pressure, which is a serious health problem within our community. So for them, good health is imperative.
The High Blood Pressure Collaborative
Right now, more than 21,000 people in Rochester have dangerously high blood pressure. The good news is that from Dec. 2011-2014, high blood pressure control rates for adults in Monroe County increased by 12.5 percent, according to the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency’s (FLHSA) registry of high blood pressure data. However, rates for African Americans only improved by 9.6 percent.
To address this public health issue in our community a talented team worked to develop the High Blood Pressure Collaborative (HBPC). The HBPC is a local coalition of more than 50 organizations led by the Rochester Business Alliance (RBA) and FLHSA. Their aim is to improve the health of the Rochester region by reducing the serious impact of high blood pressure in our community.
In just a few years, they’ve conducted in-depth research to inform and develop a number of online tools, tips, brochures and presentations to help educate the broader community along with ways to prevent this dangerous chronic condition. For some, including my mom, it’s hereditary, so even though she’s doing an outstanding job at eating right, it’s critical she remembers to take her HBP medication too.
Try to adhere
Anyone who is prescribed medication for a chronic illness like high blood pressure more often than not understands its importance; however, many people do not take their meds as directed or they just simply forget. Want to hear a shocking number? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), non-adherence causes 30 to 50 percent of treatment failures and takes the lives of approximately 125,000 Americans each year. This number is frightening and led me to ask: why are people not taking their meds? It seems so easy.
My mom’s main reason is that she does not like how it makes her feel; however, consistent with national studies, the main reason in our community is simply forgetting or not having your medication on hand at the time it should be taken.
How do you remember?
Listen, it’s tough remembering, but try to be mindful throughout the day and use triggers to remind yourself. For some, it’s family and friends. For others, it’s linked to something they do every day, like brushing their teeth (e.g. my mom’s dosage allows her to take it when she wakes up and goes to bed).
Keeping your numbers under control is vital to preventing a heart attack or stroke, as well as helps lower your healthcare costs. On average, when you take your blood pressure medication regularly, you’ll save $4,000 more a year on medical costs than those who don’t.
We all have so much going on, but remember busy is the new lazy, so it’s time we start taking care of ourselves and start prioritizing our own health. That’s my goal!
I’d love to hear other ways you remember to take your medication. Drop a note below or submit your reminder here and receive a free seven day pill box.