Check It! Challenge could lead to lower risk of heart disease and stroke

American Heart Association program provides a way for people to improve their blood pressure

For immediate release

WATERTOWN, NY — A new program is giving North Country residents a chance to help control a silent killer.

The American Heart Association is now recruiting participants for the Check It! Challenge. The challenge is a community-wide program encouraging people to check, change, and control their blood pressure.

The Check It! Challenge is based on the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. program, which is an evidence-based hypertension management program empowering participants to take ownership of their health using blood-pressure self-monitoring. The program incorporates the concepts of remote monitoring and tracking as key features to hypertension management.

“Blood pressure control is more important now than ever,” said Stacy Spaziani, regional director of the American Heart Association. “At the start of the pandemic, most people were not taking good care of themselves. Increases in blood pressure were likely related to changes in eating habits, increased alcohol consumption, less physical activity, decreased medication adherence, more emotional stress and poor sleep. We know that even small rises in blood pressure increase one’s risk of stroke and other adverse cardiovascular disease events.”

The program is open to employers and community organizations, as well as individuals. The program runs from February (American Heart Month) through May (American Stroke Month). Each month features educational topics including controlling your blood pressure, eating smart and reducing sodium, moving more, and mental health and well-being.

Participants are asked to take their blood pressure at least twice a month during the program. Blood pressure checks can be performed with at-home monitors or at a doctor’s office.

Employers and organizations interested in joining should register at or contact The program is sponsored in the North Country by Kinney Drugs Foundation.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a silent killer. It typically has no symptoms, but can lead to deadly health consequences such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. About half of all Americans have high blood pressure, but many are unaware.

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