Nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center and students from the Shawnee State University Bachelor of Science in Nursing program recently visited seven area high schools to provide a Teen Heart Check of blood pressures.
“The screenings help identify high blood pressure in teens. We then notify the school of those students who were at high risk so that the school nurses may provide follow-up readings after the initial screening,” said Judy Hamer, R.N., a nurse at SOMC who coordinated the event. Parents or guardians of the teens are also notified per letter if their child was screened as high-risk.
Any student with a reading above 139 systolic or 89 diastolic was asked to repeat the screening at the school. These standards are based on national goals set by National Institutes of Health. Local screening has revealed that a significant number of high school students have an initial blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher.
Teens are educated on products that may cause high blood pressure such as caffeine, high-energy drinks, sodas, tobacco use, etc. The teens are asked to eliminate such products from their diet prior to their next screening with the school nurse to determine if their high blood pressures are a result from using these products or if a more serious condition exists.
Schools participating in the program are Wheelersburg, Washington Nile, Glenwood, Green, Minford and South Webster.