Global heart health leader urges Americans to monitor blood pressure regularly and take action to manage hypertension among increased health risks associated with COVID-19 pandemic
HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL, May 5, 2022 – Global heart health leader, OMRON Healthcare, Inc., today issued a national health alert warning of increased heart health risks emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, urging Americans to monitor their blood pressure regularly and take action for their heart health. Recent surveys found that millions of Americans canceled regular checkups with their doctors to avoid contact with the coronavirus, while studies revealed spikes in excessive alcohol consumption over the last two years, and nearly half of respondents reported weight gain during the pandemic – factors that can increase high blood pressure risks. OMRON’s national alert arrives at the start of May, which is observed as High Blood Pressure Education Month and National Stroke Awareness Month.
Core to its mission of Going for Zero heart attacks and strokes, OMRON Healthcare recommends regular blood pressure monitoring, active management of high blood pressure, and steps toward behavior change to address habits that may increase cardiac event risk.
“There was a heart health crisis before COVID-19 arrived, with nearly one in two U.S. adults having hypertension, and the pandemic has increased the depths of the crisis and the urgency for every one of us to address it,” said OMRON Healthcare President and CEO Ranndy Kellogg. “Blood pressure changes over time and can be significantly impacted by increased stress, alcohol consumption, and weight gain. Less movement during remote work can also factor into blood pressure changes. Even those who had normal blood pressure before the pandemic could now be in the hypertensive range, which carries increased heart attack and stroke risk.”
“To reduce your risk, know your blood pressure and monitor it regularly. Take action if you’re in the hypertensive range. Talk to your doctor if you have high blood pressure and set a path to manage your condition and reduce your heart health risks,” added Kellogg.
Recent surveys found that one-half of Americans who had a scheduled in-person medical appointment missed, postponed and/or cancelled one or more appointments1 during the pandemic. Studies tracked a 21% increase of excessive alcohol consumption over the last two years,2 and a study found that 48% of respondents reported weight3 gain during the pandemic.
Those who were infected with COVID also face higher risk. New research by Nature Medicine shows that incidence of serious cardiac and cardiovascular problems was higher in the 12 months after people were diagnosed with COVID-19 compared to those who were not infected.4 Even the seasonal flu could impact heart health. Research by Houston Methodist, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows adults with hypertension and other heart disease factors are six times more likely to experience a heart attack the week after a bout with the seasonal flu than they are at any point during the year.5
OMRON Healthcare is offering these tips to manage heart health during National Stroke Awareness and High Blood Pressure Education Month:
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly – Your blood pressure changes over time and can even fluctuate during the day. Monitor your blood pressure regularly to gain valuable insights into your health. Monitoring weekly is a good practice for everyone. Those with high blood pressure should monitor daily. High levels of hypertension call for more monitoring.
- Gain insights into what is influencing your blood pressure – Regular monitoring can reveal changes, and tools, such as the OMRON Connect app which syncs with every connected OMRON blood pressure monitor, provide insights into what could be impacting your readings and coaching to take simple steps toward behavior change for better heart health.
- Take action to manage high blood pressure – If you are in the hypertensive range, talk to your doctor, set a treatment plan, and take action to manage your condition and reduce your heart attack and stroke risk. Some action steps could include medication, making behavior changes such as taking a walk each day, or simple steps to reduce the impact of stress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nearly half of U.S. adults are in the hypertensive range.6 CDC data shows that 37 million of them have uncontrolled Stage 2 hypertension with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, and despite the many risk factors, 80% of heart disease and stroke events are preventable.7 Regular blood pressure monitoring is an essential first step.
“Monitoring your blood pressure regularly is the single-most important habit patients can adopt to reduce their risk of a cardiac event,” said Dr. Stephenie Lucas. “Hypertension is a national health crisis, made worse by the pandemic, and is even more severe in underserved communities where fatalities from stroke are 200 times higher than the national average.8 It’s imperative that we advance heart health awareness and education and improve access to care and technology that can detect risk, influence behavior, and save lives.”
OMRON Healthcare continues to transform the blood pressure category with national education efforts, a range of blood pressure monitors for every need and budget, and innovations like HeartGuide, the first wearable blood pressure monitor, and Complete, the first blood pressure monitor with EKG capability in a single device. OMRON recently launched its first remote patient monitoring service, VitalSight, to support those facing the highest hypertension risks.
OMRON Healthcare is recognizing High Blood Pressure Education Month and National Stroke Awareness Month with company-wide activations through OMRON’s annual Founder’s Day on May 10th. Each year, more than 28,000 OMRON employees around the world recognize the founding of the company by participating in volunteer events on OMRON Founder’s Day. This year, OMRON has extended its scheduled week of volunteering to an entire month, dedicated to employees working with local organizations, such as the Kenneth Young Center, Northern Illinois Food Bank, and Bernie’s Book Bank. Throughout May, OMRON employees will also be joining the local Habitat for Humanity chapter for their National Women’s Build Event.
To learn more about OMRON Healthcare, the company’s Going for Zero mission, and its clinically accurate blood pressure monitors, please visit OmronHealthcare.com and follow OMRON Healthcare on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
About OMRON Healthcare, Inc.
OMRON Healthcare, Inc., is the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of personal heart health products, and an innovator in technologies supporting respiratory and pain management care. With more than 50 years of medical device category leadership, OMRON is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their health at home through precise technology. Its market-leading products include a full-range of home blood pressure monitors, nebulizers and TENS devices. The company’s mission is Going for Zero, the elimination of heart attacks and strokes. For more information, visit OmronHealthcare.com.
MWW for OMRON Healthcare, Inc
- Meister, K. (2022, March 8). Alarming new study shows pandemic is disrupting cancer screenings. Prevent Cancer Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/02/alarming-new-study-shows-pandemic-is-disrupting-cancer-screenings/
- Brown, N. (n.d.). Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic projected to cause more liver disease and deaths. Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from https://www.massgeneral.org/news/press-release/Alcohol-consumption-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-projected-to-cause-more-liver-disease-and-deaths#:~:text=Using%20data%20from%20a%20national,trends%20in%20all%20U.S.%20adults
- Khubchandani, J., Price, J. H., Sharma, S., Wiblishauser, M. J., & Webb, F. J. (2022). COVID-19 pandemic and weight gain in American adults: A nationwide population-based study. Diabetes & metabolic syndrome, 16(1), 102392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsx.2022.102392
- Xie, Y., Xu, E., Bowe, B. et al. Long-term cardiovascular outcomes of COVID-19. Nat Med 28, 583–590 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01689-3
- Houston Methodist. Flu and heart disease: The surprising connection that should convince you to schedule your shot. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2021. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211015184212.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 27). Facts about hypertension. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, September 6). Preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/million-hearts/index.html
- AHA Journals: Stroke Mortality Rates Vary in Local Communities in a Metropolitan Area. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/strokeaha.114.005431?download=true