The Student Recreation Center at Texas A&M now includes a kiosk for Aggies to monitor their blood pressure.
Local donor Donna Adam worked with the American Heart Association in the Brazos Valley to get two kiosks available in the Bryan-College Station area. In addition to the kiosk in the Rec, the other is located in the Brazos Valley Council of Governments building in Bryan.
Brittany Cervantes, corporate market director for the Brazos Valley, said the American Heart Association picked the Rec to have the kiosk because they wanted an area that would have a lot of foot traffic.
“We really wanted to target a lot of different demographics, and we’d love to help younger adults to control their blood pressure, even to be educated and aware of the risk of high blood pressure, so we reached out to A&M,” Cervantes said.
High blood pressure is the leading cause for heart disease and strokes. Cervantes said 46 percent of adults have high blood pressure, and it is considered the “silent killer” because there are no warning signs.
“We thought that [if] we could really educate people younger, we could have a dramatic decrease in that percentage,” Cervantes said.
The kiosk not only measures blood pressure, but also body mass index (BMI), resting heart rate and body weight. Jerod Wilson, director of Strength and Conditioning at the Rec, said anyone planning to use the machine needs to be relaxed before getting measured.
“The best numbers that you’ll get is if you have a period of relaxation, kind of sitting stagnant for a while before you use the machine,” Wilson said. “That way your numbers will be more valid and more reliable.”
Wilson said those wishing to use the kiosk should also wait thirty minutes after smoking, ingesting alcohol or caffeine, or having a heavy meal. Otherwise the machine will not calculate their results correctly. The kiosk should be used for baseline testing, and people using the machine should not jump to conclusions if there are any markers suggesting any health risks.
“If the kiosk is indicating that they have elevated levels, they should see their primary care physician to have a follow up test or kind of a second opinion,” Wilson said.
Kasey McCarthy, an academic advisor in the College of Education and Human Development, said he goes to the Rec often and decided to use the kiosk because of his family history of high blood pressure.
“High blood pressure is in my family a lot, so it’s just something that I’m very conscious about,” Mccarthy said. “The more consistent you are of checking yourself, the better you tend to do overall.”
The mission of the American Heart Association is to be a “relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives,” and Cervantes said that with the kiosk, they can do just that.
“Things like the blood pressure kiosk help us make strides toward our mission and try to to build a healthier community overall,” Cervantes said.