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Employee health resource updates from the IU School of Medicine

Aug. 28, 2014

New self-check blood pressure machine locations include Ruth Lilly Library atrium

IU School of Medicine faculty, staff and students can now check their blood pressure on campus with blood pressure monitoring machines recently purchased through Healthy IU departmental Healthy Change Funds.

One of the five locations for the new machines is the second-floor atrium of the Ruth Lilly Medical Library. The other locations across the IUPUI campus are the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex, Nursing, Lockefield Village and Physical Plant buildings.

The machine is free to use and can report your blood pressure in a matter of minutes. According to the American Heart Association, optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm HG (systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic pressure is less than 80).

The benefits of having self-check blood pressure machines on campus go beyond mere convenience. New IU research shows that home blood pressure monitoring saves lives and money by improving diagnosis and treatment.

The study, led by Stephen Jay, professor emeritus of health policy and management at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, found that patients who monitor blood pressure at home enjoy improved health care and lower costs; their physicians can more accurately diagnose and treat high blood pressure; and health insurance companies can save money by paying for home blood pressure monitoring kits.

"We believed that if we could show insurers that they could achieve a positive return on their investment, they would be convinced to pay for home monitors, and that health care providers would then be more likely to recommend home monitoring to patients," Dr. Jay said.

With new self-check blood pressure machines available on campus, IUPUI students and staff will be able to do just that -- and it is vitally important. High blood pressure can damage the arteries, heart, brain and kidneys, but it often has no warning signs or symptoms. In order to stay in control of your blood pressure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend checking it regularly.

“Many people like to know what’s going on with their health,” Jay said. “If you can put tools in their hands that are accurate, affordable and user friendly, you make it easier for people to have ownership of their health, and then good things can happen for the patients, clinicians and insurers. Everyone wins.”

For more information on Healthy IU, your workplace wellness program, visit the Healthy IU website. Test your blood pressure IQ with this quiz.   

Using the machine:

  • Sit quietly before measuring your blood pressure for three to five minutes. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs and ankles uncrossed. Try to be calm and not think about stressful things.
  • Avoid food, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol for 30 minutes before taking a measurement.
  • Make sure your arm is positioned properly. Rest your arm comfortably in the cuff and keep your hand relaxed.  Place the cuff on bare skin, not over clothing. The inflatable portion of the cuff should cover at least 80 percent of the upper arm. Rolling up a sleeve until it tightens around your arm can result in an inaccurate reading.
  • Don’t talk while taking your blood pressure.
  • Take a repeat reading two to three minutes after the first one to check accuracy.
  • Document your readings. Individual BP logs are available at each station.
  • Cuff size counts. Self-monitoring machines are designed for an average size person. The machines are accurate for 80 percent of the population, but if your arm is substantially larger or smaller than the average person of your height and weight, the reading may not be accurate.

Flu shot update

Due to an unforeseen delay in the shipment of flu vaccine, the flu clinic dates previously publicized in the Aug. 14 issue of InScope are no longer accurate.

Flu shots will now be available in late September and all flu shot clinics will be held in October and November.

A new schedule will be shared on the IUPUI Campus Health and via InScope as soon as it is available.

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