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Blood Pressure Kiosk Saved Life of "Walking Time Bomb"

Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (geraldoswald62/Pixabay)
Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (geraldoswald62/Pixabay)
May 23, 2019

BALTIMORE – That blood pressure machine at the grocery store might just save your life.

This past February, a blood pressure kiosk was installed at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore to help people monitor their cardiovascular health. The machine has proved to be quite popular, with close to 2,000 people getting their blood pressure checked since its arrival.

However, for Jackie Simon, a woman who randomly decided to use the kiosk, she believes it saved her life.

"I was a walking – basically, I was a walking time bomb,” says Simon, a former instructor at the community center. “I could've had a heart attack or stroke at any time...between the high cholesterol and my pressure being at the highest."

Despite being physically fit, Simon had alarming readings showing extremely high blood pressure. After a check with her doctor, she was immediately placed on medication and given instructions to follow a lighter, more safe workout regime.

Doctors attributed the heart attack risk to her genetics. Health experts recommend routine checkups to catch potential health issues.

Simon says her story is living proof that hypertension can affect anyone. Despite being an exercise fanatic and leading a healthy lifestyle, she was still at high risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

She says she learned a valuable lesson and encourages others to regularly check their blood pressure, even if it's just at the grocery or drug store, so it could prevent untimely medical issues and even death.

"I saw the machine there,” says Simon. “I said, 'Nope, nobody's over there. Just out of curiosity, I'd love to see what my pressure is.' So I took my pressure and it wound up being 200 over 100, and I thought, well this can't be, there must be something wrong with the machine."

Stories like Simon's are not uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, or 1 in 3 adults.

Organizations such as the American Heart Association recommend routine checks of blood pressure. It also has guides on its website, heart.org, to better understand blood-pressure readings.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD