On Tuesday, April 25, ETMC Tyler will encourage area residents to “Be Heart Smart: Know your blood pressure reading.” The hospital will provide free blood pressure screenings at locations in Smith County throughout the day. This effort is part of East Texas Giving Day, an 18-hour regional outreach that encourages East Texans to donate online to the charities of their choice.
Screenings in Smith County will be held at these locations and times:
- ETMC Pavilion, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
- Downtown Tyler Square, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- ETMC Olympic Centers at Tyler, Lake Palestine and Hideaway Lake, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
ETMC hospitals throughout the region also will host multiple blood pressure screenings in public locations; click here for a complete list of sites.
In addition to the screenings, ETMC Tyler will host a KnowledgeFirst forum regarding high blood pressure on April 25 at 12 noon at the ETMC Pavilion, 801 Clinic Dr. Two physicians associated with the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute – Cardiologist Dr. Ajay Pachika of Tyler CVC and Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Andrea Cooley – will discuss “The Danger of High Blood Pressure,” including risk factors, lifestyle changes and treatment options. Lunch will be served, and Pavilion parking is available for attendees beginning at11:30 a.m. Please pre-register by dialing 866-333-ETMC (3862), press 6.
“High blood pressure is now an epidemic across East Texas, contributing to the high rates of heart attack, stroke and other cardiac disorders in our area,” said Dianne Adelfio, vice president of operations at ETMC Tyler. “That’s why ETMC again chose to make East Texas Giving Day a ‘give back’ day by offering free blood pressure checks and education on heart disease. “
She noted that the “Be Heart Smart” blood pressure outreach on East Texas Giving Day 2016 screened more than 500 East Texans.
“The results, unfortunately, were highly negative,” said Adelfio. “Only 20 percent of the individuals screened had blood pressures in the normal range, showing that much work needs to be done in community education and physician conversations.”
An alarming 42 percent of the 2016 participants recorded some level of high blood pressure: hypertension 1, hypertension 2 or hypertension crisis, added Adelfio. This exceeds the American Heart Association’s nationwide statistic of 33 percent (one out of every three adults), with an estimated 77.9 million Americans dealing with high blood pressure.
Again this year, online charitable gifts made to ETMC hospitals on East Texas Giving Day will be applied to ETMC’s fight against heart disease. Donors may designate the ETMC facility of their choice, and that hospital will apply the funds raised to community education and special patient needs regarding hypertension. For example, past funding has been used to assist patients who desperately need a home blood pressure monitor, but cannot afford to purchase one.
“Your gift on East Texas Giving Day allows you to partner in ETMC’s mission of identifying cardiac disease, providing treatment and saving lives,” noted Marty Wiggins, director of the ETMC Foundation. “This charitable support will help in the East Texas fight against heart disease – which is the number one killer of both men and women in America.”
To donate to the ETMC hospital of your choice on April 25 (during the 18 hours from 6 a.m. to midnight) go online to: https://easttexasgivingday.org. From the menu options, you can select by organization “Name,” by “County” or by “Category” (Health). Gifts are tax-deductible, with a minimum donation of $20 and no maximum. All data entered is secure, and will only be provided to the hospital and the ETMC Foundation, which is coordinating this effort for the ETMC Regional Healthcare System.
The role of social media is essential to the success of East Texas Giving Day. “Now is a great time to ‘like’ ETMC on Facebook as we count down to East Texas Giving Day,” said Adelfio. “You also can help spread the word by posting on your own Facebook page that you are Heart Smart by having your blood pressure checked and donating to ETMC Tyler’s cardiac programs.”
The ETMC Facebook page is currently posting high blood pressure fast facts, quiz questions and information on ETMC’s regional blood pressure screenings, plus info on how to donate on East Texas Giving Day.
High blood pressure – or hypertension – is known as the “silent killer” because it often lacks symptoms and warning signs. About 77.9 million (one out of every three) adults in the United States have high blood pressure. There are risk factors, which include: family history, advancing age, lack of physical activity, poor diet, being overweight and drinking too much alcohol.
East Texans can do their part in controlling their blood pressure by being informed, reducing their personal risk factors, taking medications as directed by their doctor and collaborating with their health team and family. More information on cardiac disease and ETMC’s advanced programs may be found on the health system’s website: www.etmc.org – go to “Medical Services,” then “Cardiovascular.”
East Texas Giving Day – the second of its kind program for our region of the state – is a project of the East Texas Communities Foundation (ETCF). Based in Tyler, ETCF serves individuals and not-for-profit organizations throughout 32 counties of East Texas by providing charitable fund administration through donor-advised funds, endowments, scholarship funds and other funding options.