Astera Health knows what it takes to be a hypertension hero! In September 2023, UCare recognized Astera Health staff during its 15th annual “A Salute to Excellence!” for helping patients manage hypertension through the use of medication therapy.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension, known more commonly as high blood pressure is when a person experiences elevated blood pressure throughout the day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with consistently high blood pressure are more susceptible to heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Blood pressure is the measure of systolic and diastolic pressure in the heart. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association consider a systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher and diastolic pressure of 80 mm Hg or higher to be hypertension.
“Astera Health was recognized for being #1 in the state for our patients adhering to medication therapy for a hypertension diagnosis. This effort is a coordination between the patient, provider, nursing, and pharmacies to clearly and consistently display the importance of managing and controlling hypertension. It also showcases the impact of our patient-centered approach to care,” said Medley Shamp, Chief Ambulatory Officer at Astera Health.
A hypertension hero in practice
Jessica Anderson, PA-C, sees patients in the Henning and Ottertail. She is in tune with the struggles that rural folks endure every day. One of those struggles is hypertension. Jessica and other providers take the time to create a tailored plan to best keep the condition at bay. This typically includes lifestyle adjustments to diet and exercise in addition to educating the patient on heart health. Jessica views medication as one of the most potent defenses against high blood pressure.
“We strongly encourage our patients to come in for routine physical exams so we can keep an eye on their blood pressure. We also encourage patients to check their blood pressure at home or come in for a nurse appointment if they need assistance. In our rural clinics, we received a grant that allowed us to purchase home blood pressure monitors so we can give them to patients who do not have one. When we prescribe blood pressure medications we also like to see patients back for follow-up to make sure they are responding well to the treatment. The heart is such an important organ that affects so many bodily systems, I will often check lab work to make sure that it is not affecting their kidney function or electrolyte levels,” said Jessica.
Managing blood pressure is a major operation at Astera Health. Jessica often generates a computer report to see what patients had high blood pressure during their previous visits. This process helps her know if they need to be rechecked in the future. Additionally, Jessica is very diligent in processing refill requests from the pharmacy. This is extremely important because they depend on her to make sure they don’t run out of medication.
Jessica and her colleagues at Astera Health were ecstatic to hear about the UCare recognition. The administration at Astera Health shared this excitement and visited area clinics to congratulate staff members on the distinction.
American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month and Astera Health wants you to take charge of your cardiovascular health. Throughout February, learn about everything the heart does for you. It’s also a great time to rethink your diet and come up with an exercise plan that works for you. Before making sweeping changes to your diet and activity levels, it’s important to meet with a medical professional. Now is the time to be a hypertension hero and spread awareness about high blood pressure.
For more information about hypertension and heart health, visit asterahealth.org. To schedule an appointment, call 218-631-3510. Also, don’t forget to follow Astera Health on social media for important health news and better living tips.