ARC hosts free blood pressure screenings May 15

Austin Regional Clinic is offering free blood pressure counseling and screenings at three of its locations May 15.

The services are part of a three-year national campaign called Measure Up/Pressure Down. By 2016, ARC and other participants in the campaign hope to lower blood pressure for 80 percent of its patients with high blood pressure. Dr. Anas Daghestani, internal medicine practitioner and medical director of population health and clinical quality department at ARC, said for most people, blood pressure levels below 140/90 is ideal.

In 2013, ARC joined the campaign, which American Medical Group Foundation launched. During ARC's first year of participation, it helped 66 percent of its 37,000 patients with hypertension gain control of their blood pressure, according to ARC. Others included in the campaign include Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.

"Blood pressure is unfortunately a silent killer," Daghestani said. "A lot of times people don't have an idea at all that they have high blood pressure because there are no symptoms to it. By controlling blood pressure, you dramatically reduce the chance of damage to the heart, the kidney, eyes and brain over the years."

Factors that affect a person's blood pressure include salt and alcohol intake, Daghestani said. ARC will counsel patients after blood pressure screenings about modifying their lifestyle, diet and exercise routine.

The screenings and counseling are offered at three ARC locations from 5–9 p.m. on May 15.

ARC Far West, 6835 Austin Center Blvd., Austin

ARC Round Rock, 940 Hesters Crossing, Round Rock

ARC Southwest, 1807 Slaughter Lane, Ste. 490, Austin