According to the American Heart Association, hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects more than 73 million people in the United States, but is widely undiagnosed and untreated. To help patients identify if they are at risk, Take Care Health Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive provider of convenient care clinics and worksite health and wellness centers, is now offering free blood pressure screenings at all 359 Take Care Clinics nationwide through May 31.
“Nearly 22 percent of individuals in the United States with hypertension are unaware of their condition according to the American Heart Association,” said Sandra Ryan, RN, MSN, CPNP, FAANP and chief nurse practitioner officer for Take Care Health Systems. “Take Care nurse practitioners and physician assistants will provide free blood pressure screenings to identify at-risk patients, and refer them to the appropriate level of care for treatment. In addition, Take Care health providers will serve as an educational resource to answer questions about hypertension and risk factors associated with the disease.”
Free blood pressure screenings are available to all patients 18 years and older. If a patient’s blood pressure is elevated, the provider will recommend a return visit to a Take Care Clinic or follow-up with a primary care provider to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of hypertension. If a patient does not have a primary care provider, the Take Care health provider will offer a list of area providers accepting new patients.
A majority of Americans with hypertension are untreated or undertreated, potentially unaware that their current behavior and treatment may not be generating adequate results. There are several lifestyle modifications a person can make, including smoking cessation, weight loss if overweight and an increase in physical activity.
“High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. Given the accessibility and convenience of Take Care Clinics across the country, we can play a vital role in identifying individuals with undiagnosed or untreated hypertension, helping to decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Peter Miller, president and CEO of Take Care Health Systems. “These free blood pressure screenings reinforce Take Care Clinics’ commitment to offering quality healthcare services that meet the needs of patients and their families.”
Take Care Health Systems is dedicated to battling the prevalence of serious chronic healthcare conditions which impact millions each year. In February, Walgreens and Take Care Clinics offered free blood glucose screenings at thousands of locations across the country, offering a convenient access point to receive diabetes awareness and education. Additional efforts by Take Care Clinics to screen, diagnose and treat hypertension will be unveiled later this summer.
Take Care Clinics are walk-in, professional health care centers located at select Walgreens drugstores across the country. Board-certified family nurse practitioners and physician assistants treat patients 18 months and older for common illnesses and are licensed to write prescriptions when necessary that can be filled at the patient’s pharmacy of choice.