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Mayor Issues Million Resident Challenge To Educate Central Florida About Blood Pressure

Entire Region Won't Succumb to the Pressure

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Statistics show that 90% of us will have High Blood Pressure in our lifetime, but that data doesn't sit well with the people of Central Florida -- they're primed to fight the silent killer. Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was joined by dozens of community and business leaders to announce a first of its kind health initiative to promote healthier outcomes for Central Floridians and issue a challenge for at least 1 million area residents to get their blood pressure checked through -- Project Pressure. Organizers hope the Project will not only raise awareness of the dangers of hypertension in their region, but also motivate cities and communities nationwide to step up their blood pressure education efforts.

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Recent surveys demonstrate the importance of growing awareness of high blood pressure throughout the region:

-- During the first 6 months of 2008, Centra Care Urgent Care measured the

Blood Pressures of nearly 50,000 adult patients. 71% had Hypertension

or Pre-Hypertension(1)

-- 80% of respondents in an independent survey did not know that normal

blood pressure is below 120/80(2)

"Our data shows that Central Florida has a Blood Pressure problem," said Scott Brady, MD, president/senior medical director of Centra Care Urgent Care, who serves as Medical Advisor to the Project Pressure campaign. "Elevated blood pressure is damaging arteries every day -- putting people at increased risk for Stroke, Heart Attack, Aneurysm or some other medical catastrophe. It is a dangerous health condition, but it can be easily managed."

As one of the most extensive community programs of its kind -- involving cities, counties, corporations and the medical community -- Project Pressure aims to increase Blood Pressure Awareness and Blood Pressure Health Compliance through a sustained and motivating multi-county educational campaign. It is the largest, most comprehensive health program ever implemented by Get Healthy Florida. Already dozens of participants have joined in an effort to engage the entire community in Project Pressure, including more than fifty fire stations and over a hundred physicians who will be screening residents for blood pressure.

Representing Central Florida's largest employer, Walt Disney World Resort President Meg Crofton, with Nurse Minnie by her side, stressed the commitment the organization has to the health of their Cast Members and the community. "We are encouraging our community and our Cast Members to make one simple step toward a healthier lifestyle by rolling up their sleeves and getting their blood pressure checked. Health care and the wellness of employees and their families is one of the most important issues that companies face today. Project Pressure will complement the many resources we are providing Cast Members to help them live healthier lives," said Crofton.

Project partners and participants include: Centra Care/Florida Hospital Urgent Care, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Omron, Orange County, the City of Orlando, other municipalities and city and county government agencies, physicians, academic institutions, community-based organizations, media, health organizations and corporations.

Those interested in learning more about Project Pressure can visit or call Get Healthy Florida at 407-688-8715.

About Project Pressure

Project Pressure will reach residents where they live and work through exciting events, blood pressure challenges, Fire Station Street Parties, BP tracking digital billboard, the chance to win prizes from an ambush-style Pressure Patrol Prize Van, and much more. There will be an interactive website where people can enter their BP numbers, learn lifestyle modification options such as healthy recipes, exercise tips and relaxation podcasts. The Project will conclude with a free Grand Finale community concert event.

Partners & Participants

Project Pressure is made possible thanks in part to: Florida Hospital Centra Care, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Omron. Community Partners and participants already include: Orange County, the City of Orlando, the City of Winter Park, the City of Maitland, Orange County Public Schools, Orange County Fire Rescue, Orlando Fire Department, Maitland Fire Department, Winter Park Fire Department, Osceola County, the City of Kissimmee, City of Altamonte, Seminole County Public Schools, Florida Hospital, Walt Disney World, the University of Central Florida, Valencia Community College, LYNX, Darden Orlando, AAA, Central Florida YMCA, Florida Radiology Imaging, Florida Physicians Medical Group (FPMG), Physicians Associates, Carl Black Orlando, The Islands of the Bahamas, Brain Ready and , the Web site famous for its easy-to-understand explanations of how the world actually works, is a Project Pressure content partner, providing with podcasts developed specifically for this initiative and articles, diagrams and videos that make it easy to understand "High Blood Pressure In-Depth."

About High Blood Pressure

What is Hypertension?

High Blood Pressure, also known as Hypertension, has been called the "Silent Killer" because typically there are no signs. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 -- anything higher than 140/90 is called Hypertension.

Why is Hypertension Bad?

High Blood Pressure can cause many problems including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, aneurysm and heart failure. Bringing blood pressure back to normal range can prevent many of these dangerous problems. Every additional 20/10 increase in blood pressure DOUBLES the risk of death from heart attack or stroke.

-- About 73 million people in the United States age 20 and older have high

blood pressure.

-- High blood pressure is a factor in 67% of heart attacks and 77% of

strokes in the U.S.

-- One in three Americans either has, or will have high blood pressure in

their lifetime.

-- Risk of death from heart attack or stroke DOUBLES w/each 20/10mm Hg

increase in BP.

-- 28 million sick days are taken each year due to BP

-- High BP and its complications cost the U.S. economy more than $100

billion each year

*U.S. Centers for Disease Control & American Heart Association

(1) During the first 6 months of 2008, Centra Care Urgent Care measured

the Blood Pressures of nearly 50,000 adult patients. 71% had

Hypertension or Pre-Hypertension.

Normal Blood Pressure is less than 120/80. Anything over 120 systolic

or 80 diastolic is considered abnormal, and has a negative impact on

your health. Every age group (30s thru 90s) included patients whose

blood pressures were Dangerously High. In fact, every age group had

patients with either Pre-hypertension or Hypertension requiring

medication. The Highest systolic Blood Pressure of all age groups was

237 (which is a hypertension emergency).

In each age group, the average of all blood pressures (includes low

and normal readings) was higher than what is considered Normal blood

pressure. For example, the average blood pressure of folks in their

30s was 124/80 ... which is in the pre-hypertension range and

requires aggressive diet and lifestyle changes to prevent eminent

development of high blood pressure.

In addition, the patients were reviewed to see if there was any

correlation with race. In fact, Centra Care statistics showed that

African-American patient's blood pressures averaged about 6 to 10

points higher than either White or Hispanic; with Hispanic averaging

about 2 points higher than Whites.

(2) In a recent, independent survey of 1,400 Central Floridians:

-- Of those respondents that have been told their blood pressure was

high -- only 21% say they are doing all they can to keep their

numbers low.

-- 80% of those surveyed did not know that normal blood pressure meant

below 120/80.

-- 46% said they thought hypertension was something that just came and

went throughout life

-- 1/3 of people who have been put on BP lowering medication by their

doctor said they either never take it or seldom take it as


About Get Healthy Florida

Get Healthy Florida is an educational & event-based marketing organization committed to improving the health of people across the state of Florida. We create relevant health education and unique marketing opportunities through exciting health events that make a POSITIVE IMPACT on the community. Our organization began in 2001 and is already a recognized leader in the social marketing arena. For more information visit

About Centra Care/Florida Hospital Urgent Care

For 25 years, Centra Care has provided adults and children preeminent medical care for non-life threatening illness and injury. Each of the 17 Central Florida locations is staffed by a Florida Hospital, board-certified physician and is equipped to handle X-Rays and labs on-site. Centra Care is Florida's largest urgent care provider and Central Florida's only urgent care facility backed by a nationally recognized health system. For more information visit

SOURCE Get Healthy Florida
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