When a blood pressure clinic stopped by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce last year, operations manager Linda Kitchen was the first in line.
Kitchen had suffered a heart attack brought on in part by hypertension, or high blood pressure, in Feb. 2012.
“(The clinic) was a quick, painless and enlightening experience for all our staff,” she said.
Take the Pressure Down clinics are a joint partnership between Beacon Community Services and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation to offer free blood pressure monitoring at workplaces across the Capital Region.
More than 20 per cent of Canadian adults will suffer medical complications from high blood pressure in their lifetime, often due in part to workplace stress.
A 2006 study funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation showed persistent work stress can cause hypertension that can have a damaging effect on heart health. Chronic job strain was found to increase blood pressure in subjects over a year of monitoring.
“I strongly encourage all Chamber members to host their own clinics and help promote a healthy work environment,” Kitchen said.
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa held its first Take the Pressure Down clinic last fall as part of an annual health and wellness fair. This year, the resort is hosting a Healthy Heart Awareness Clinic during the week of Valentine’s Day for employees.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and eating a diet low in sodium can also reduce the risk of hypertension, according to data from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Public drop-in clinics are also available across Greater Victoria in the coming months:
-Crystal Pool, Feb. 20, Mar. 6, 9 a.m.-noon
-YMCA downtown Victoria, Mar. 4, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
-Walmart Uptown, Feb. 24, Mar. 6, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
-Saanich Silver Threads, Feb. 27, Mar. 27, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
-Cordova Bay 55+, Mar. 18, 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
-Westshore Shopping Centre, Feb. 19, Mar. 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
-Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, Mar. 13, 9 a.m.-noon
-Commonwealth Place, Feb. 19, 26, Mar. 5, 12, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
-Panorama Rec Centre, Mar. 4, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
For a full schedule or to book a workplace clinic, visit takethepressuredown.ca.