Volunteers needed for high blood pressure study

Rewards offered for participants of two-year study

February 16, 2012 12:00 AM  Kinston Free Press
Staff Writer
Heart Healthy Lenoir is working to understand and improve heart health in the area and is looking for people to become part of a study.  The project is a collaboration between UNC, ECU and local health professionals to reduce the risk of heart disease in Lenoir County. 

Heart Healthy Lenoir co-investigator Dr. Jacqueline Halladay said she is looking for 600 people with uncontrolled blood pressure from Lenoir and Wayne counties to participate in the study.  “We’re specifically looking for people who are having a challenging time trying to get their blood pressure under control,” Halladay said. “This is not necessarily for the healthy person who is taking their medications every day and their blood pressure is well-controlled. We really want kind of the challenging, difficult patients who are really kind of struggling, because we have things that we can offer.”

The two-year study will monitor participants as they learn how to control blood pressure through healthy eating, physical activity and weight control. They will also be eligible to receive up to $140 in gift cards.  Halladay said another benefit for participants is the monitoring equipment they will receive.

“We provide them with a home blood pressure monitor that they get to keep, a very nice one, and we teach them how to use it and how to monitor their blood pressure every day,” she said.“

Halladay said participants will also have a phone coach available to keep people on track.  “This is someone who coaches them along with their lifestyle and inherence to medication, so there will be this very nice person who, when they want, can chat on the phone how … to help their blood pressure reach more controlled levels,” she said.

Sonya Sutton, communications specialist for UNC Center of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, said Lenoir County was chosen because of its Tier 1 economic status and health statistics.

“This project is focused in Lenoir County, and it’s kind of unique for that,” Sutton said. “It’s a really large study with a focus just in one area, so it gives us a good chance to do a lot of different things related to heart health because the community is so focused.”
Halladay said the prevalence of high blood pressure in Lenoir County, as well as other factors, made it the ideal site for the Heart Healthy project.

“(Lenoir County has) more cardiovascular disease and strokes, maybe even than the rest of the state,” she said. “There are higher rates of stroke and heart attacks in that region, but there are also very positive things about the region. It’s a cohesive community that has a lot of very nice infrastructure to support an initiative like this.”

Participants must be a patient at one of the following medical practices: Kinston Community Health Center, La Grange Medical Center, Lenoir Family Medicine, Pink Hill Medical Center or Goshen Medical Center in Mt. Olive.
Sign up by calling 1-888-776-0041 or by contacting your medical practice.
Jane Moon can be reached at 252-559-1082 or jmoon@freedomenc.com.
Heart-Healthy Lenoir
To participate in the high blood pressure study, you must:
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Speak English
  • Have access to a phone
  • Have uncontrollable high blood pressure with recent blood pressure of 150/90 or greater
  • Be a patient at Kinston Community Health Center, La Grange Medical Center, Lenoir Family Medicine, Pink Hill Medical Center or Goshen Medical Center in Mount Olive
  • Call 1-888-776-0041 to find out more or to sign up
Source: Dr. Jacqueline Halladay, co-investigator for Heart Healthy Lenoir