Dr. Heather Johnson Creates ‘My Heart, My Choice’ Online Resources to Help Young Adults Manage Hypertension

February 9, 2017

CVRC trainer and past trainee, Heather Johnson, leads program aimed at helping young adults live a healthier life, lower their blood pressure, and prevent heart disease.

“When we worked with diverse focus groups of young adult hypertension patients and their providers, we found that brochures about blood pressure management weren’t making it past the waiting room recycle bins,” says Dr. Johnson. “If the brochure showed a picture of someone who was perceived as older than themselves, or if they felt it didn’t offer new information, they would discard it.”

Young adults with hypertension face serious risk of cardiovascular disease. Years of strain on blood vessels causes increased rates of heart failure, stroke, and chronic kidney disease. “We know that hypertension control in young adults is a tremendous benefit not only to their health and longevity but also for reducing healthcare costs,” says Dr. Johnson, who is co-director of the UW Health Advanced Hypertension Program.

“We need to empower young adults learning about healthy lifestyle changes by providing evidence-based information in a way that’s convenient and accessible to them, not in a format that makes them feel powerless or older than their age.”

Funded through a grant from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the MyHEART web site and related social media accounts offer information about how to check and monitor blood pressure (My Heart), evidence-based actions for stress management, diet, exercise, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol (My Choice), and resources for successful hypertension management (My Support).

Read full article: Vital Signs