Weekly Feature

2018-01-31 / Editorial

Blood pressure screenings can help save lives

February is American Heart Month, which helps raise awareness of heart disease and how people can prevent it. It’s important for both men and women to have regular checkups to not only promote a healthier lifestyle but also be aware of how to manage their health.

YMCA Buffalo Niagara is also urging all Western New Yorkers to get a blood pressure screening. Revised guidelines from the American Heart Association mean 46 percent of Americans have high blood pressure, which is often referred to as the “silent killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

The Y offers several wellness programs to promote heart health, including the National Diabetes Prevention Program. The program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. According to the Y, type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke.

More than 1,000 people have participated in the NDPP since its launch with YMCA Buffalo Niagara in 2010.

“The Diabetes Prevention Program is very effective and has allowed the Y to make a significant impact in the health of our community,” said Kelly Standage, association director of Membership and Wellness Programs. “Since so many chronic diseases are tied to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we know the program’s effectiveness improves risk factors for other health issues such as hypertension, heart disease and certain types of cancer.”

The 12-month program includes 16 weekly sessions that provide a supportive environment in which participants set a goal to lose between 5 and 7 percent of their starting body weight. This method has been proven to reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the most at-risk adults by 58 percent.

New sessions begin at the following YMCA Buffalo Niagara branches, but space is limited:

Independent Health Family Branch YMCA session begins Feb. 22. It will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Call 839-2543 to register.

Ken-Ton Family YMCA session begins March 13. It will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Call 874-5051 to register.

Southtowns Family YMCA session begins March 15. It will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Call 674-9622 to register.

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