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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 058-08
Thursday, August 28, 2008

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti/Sara Markt (pressoffice@health.nyc.gov)


Health Department Delivers Free Blood Pressure Machines to Pharmacies in Neighborhoods with Highest Rates of Hypertension

One in three has high blood pressure in Harlem, the South Bronx, and North and Central Brooklyn

August 28, 2008 – High blood pressure is a time bomb that can trigger a deadly heart attack or stroke without warning. And because the condition often has no symptoms, getting checked is the only way to know whether you have it and if it is under control. To make checking your blood pressure easier and more accessible, the Health Department is teaming up with pharmacies in East and Central Harlem, the South Bronx, and North and Central Brooklyn to provide blood pressure monitoring machines at no cost. Harlem residents are already taking advantage of the pilot program – having clocked over 17,000 read-outs Eight dollars a pack on the new machines since they were installed this summer. In coming weeks, the program will reach pharmacies in the Bronx and Brooklyn as well.

High blood pressure is rampant in New York City. One in four adults is affected, and 20% of them don’t know it. Worse yet, fewer than half of affected New Yorkers have the condition under control – a lapse that results in thousands of heart attacks, strokes, and preventable deaths each year.

The situation is worse in the South Bronx, Harlem and parts of Brooklyn. In those neighborhoods, one in three adults has high blood pressure.

The new campaign urges residents of these neighborhoods to visit pharmacies to get a free blood pressure reading. In addition to testing services, the kiosks provide information on healthy and unhealthy blood pressure levels, tips on how to control your blood pressure, and advice on when to seek a doctor’s care. These pharmacies also offer a free card to help you track your measurements and take with you to the doctor.

“If you have high blood pressure, Eight dollars a pack checking your numbers regularly and making sure they are in control can save your life,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. “Taking your medicine as prescribed, exercising, and cutting your salt intake will all help bring your blood pressure down. If you smoke, quitting will help you avoid a heart attack.”

For more information, people in the targeted neighborhoods can visit nyc.gov/health or look for “Check Your Blood Pressure Here!” decals in the windows of participating pharmacies. The Health Department is also promoting the program through public housing facilities, local clinics and faith-based organizations, and on billboards.

  • Take all the medication your doctor prescribes - even if you feel fine. When diet and exercise aren't enough, blood pressure-lowering medicines are safe and effective.

    Percent of NYC adults
    who say they
    have been told they have
    high blood pressure (2007

    South Bronx

    36%

    North and
    Central Brooklyn

    33%

    East and
    Central Harlem

    33%

    All other
    neighborhoods

    26%

  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as a brisk walk) at least five times a week.
  • If you’re overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
  • If you smoke, quit now. If you have high blood pressure, smoking more than doubles your risk of a heart attack. For free help quitting, call 311.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat dairy products and lean meat and fish.
  • Limit salt (sodium) in your diet.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Ask your doctor if taking low-dose aspirin can help reduce your chance of heart attack or stroke.
Participating Pharmacies in East and Central Harlem

BJ's Pharmacy?, 76-80 East 116th Street, New York, NY, 10029*
Blake Pharmacy, 1868 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
Bliss Pharmacy, 1590 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
Buena Vista Pharmacy, 2022 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
CVS, 105 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027
CVS, 130 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY, 10026
CVS, 1500 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, 10029
Drug Loft, 1412 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
Drug Shoppe, 2074 8th Avenue, New York, NY, 10026*
Duane Reade, 2108 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10029
Duane Reade, 135 East 125th Street, New York, NY, 10035
Duane Reade, 279-283 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027
Duane Reade, 1915 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10029
Family Pharmacy & Surgical, 379 West 125 Street, New York, NY, 10027
First Avenue Pharmacy, 2101 First Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
Harlem Pharmacy, 17 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027*
Health Care Pharmacy Services, 53 East 122nd Street, New York, NY, 10035*
Isla Drug Stores, 1994 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10029
Lenox Pharmacy, 27 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY, 10026*
Lex Drugs, 1797 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
M & N Pharmacy, 2240 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10035*
Madison Ave Pharmacy, 1407 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
Malcolm Pharmacy, 160 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY, 10026*
Marcia Pharmacy, 217 East 106th Street, New York, NY, 10029*
Maxwell Pharmacy, 234 East 106th Street, New York, NY, 10029
Metropolitan Pharmacy, 1982 2nd Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
NYC Pharmacy, 2258 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10035*
Pathmark, 160 East 125th St, New York, NY 10035
Raysol Pharmacy, 1870 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, 10029*
Rite Aid, 2170 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY, 10026
Rite Aid, 1951 First Avenue, New York, NY, 10029
Rite Aid, 35-45 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027
Rite Aid, 309 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027
SB Pharmacy Inc., 27-29 East 124th Street, New York, NY, 10035*
Second Ave Pharmacy, 249 East 115th Street, New York, NY, 10029
Taino Pharmacy, 2403 Second Avenue, New York, NY, 10025

The Health Department identified a specific geographic area with a high concentration of commercial activity, public housing and a high population density within target neighborhoods and invited all pharmacies in this area to participate in the program. Pharmacies marked with an asterisk (*) received machines and campaign materials; the others already had machines at their location, but will be distributing campaign materials.

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