Attempt to break world record for most blood pressure tests

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

In observance of National High Blood Pressure Education Month in May, Carrington College's 18 campuses nationwide are attempting to break a world record for the most blood pressure tests given in an eight-hour period.

On Thursday, May 21, Carrington College's Mesa, Phoenix and Tucson campuses, respectively, are encouraging members of the community to get their blood pressure taken by Medical Assisting program students. Testing will be available until 7 p.m. Thursday, and no appointments are necessary for this complimentary test.

To find the location nearest you - or to follow the World Record progress - visit www.CarringtonBreaksRecords.com.

To break the current Guinness world record, Carrington students will have to take more than 26,449 blood pressures nationwide in an 8-hour period.

"The American Heart Association estimates that more than 78 million people in the United States have high blood pressure, but because it is symptom-free, half don't even know it," said Dr. Danika Bowen, Carrington College provost/vice president of academic affairs and accreditation liaison officer. "Knowledge is power. The goal of Carrington's GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt is to increase our local communities' knowledge about their blood pressure and educate them about health risks associated with both pre-hypertension and hypertension."

Medical Assisting students will be on hand providing blood pressure checks to all members of the community. And Carrington College staff will be available to provide information on the risks of developing high blood pressure, its associated dangers and methods to combat high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of the blood vessels as blood flows through them. Uncontrolled and untreated high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, erectile dysfunction, aneurysm, kidney failure, arteriosclerosis and even blindness.

Blood pressure is usually expressed as a fraction, where the first number - called systolic pressure - measures the force in the arteries when the heart pumps, and the second number - diastolic pressure - measures the heart at rest. Blood pressure measuring 120/80 is considered in the normal range. If a person's blood pressure is closer to 120-139 systolic and 80-89 diastolic, he or she is considered to have pre-hypertension. If a person's blood pressure is 140 systolic or above and 90 diastolic or above, he or she is considered to have high blood pressure, or hypertension.

While the exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown, the AHA reports the following potential risk factors for developing the condition:

-Obesity

-Inactivity

-Smoking

-Heavy alcohol use

-High-sodium diet

-Stress

-Heredity

-Race - African-Americans develop high blood pressure at a higher rate than any other race

-Age - Men are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 35; women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after menopause

Among the easiest ways to reduce slightly elevated blood pressure or prehypertension:

-Lose weight

-Add foods with potassium, magnesium, calcium, lean proteins and fiber to your diet

-Limit foods with sodium, trans-fats and saturated fats

-Limit alcohol consumption

-Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke

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