The health risks and complications of high blood pressure hit close to home on several levels for Angela Maffett-Terry, a case management supervisor for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
As a nurse, she knows what patients go through with this condition. She’s also seen the effects of high blood pressure and heart disease in family members.
“I’ve always been aware that this runs on both sides of my family,” says Angela.
And for the last 15 years, she’s been managing high blood pressure herself. Angela was diagnosed during an annual physical exam.
“My blood pressure was not extremely high when my doctor noticed a change. But because of my family history, we wanted to stay on top of it,” explains Angela.
A second reason to manage her numbers
Angela’s doctor prescribed medication, which has worked to lower her blood pressure and to keep it in a healthy range.
Then a few years later, her blood pressure management took on added significance when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
In fact, diabetes was part of Angela’s family medical history as well. It was also diagnosed thanks to a screening that was part of a routine annual exam.
Angela’s doctor suggested medication to help manage her diabetes, and she also began seeing specialists for diabetes and kidney care.
Controlling blood pressure is a key part of managing diabetes, Angela explains. It’s important to avoiding serious complications that can result from these conditions, like kidney problems, heart disease, and stroke.
“For those of us with more than one health condition, called comorbidity, we need to understand how each condition impacts the other,” says Angela. “They often go hand-in-hand.”
Finding the balance and extra support
Angela says she views her conditions holistically, taking a daily and big picture view of her health. And while she’s spent decades reminding patients and members about care and medications, as a nurse, she knows she sometimes needs help finding the balance:
- She sticks to her doctor-recommended schedules of care, screenings, and medication.
- She also tries to eat a healthy, balanced diet and fit in exercise regularly.
- For her medications, she sets reminders on her phone.
- She’s using the telehealth diabetes and hypertension management programs available through her health benefits plan.
Angela’s advice to others managing high blood pressure is three-fold:
- Know your blood pressure numbers.
- Work with a doctor to manage your condition.
- And don’t give up if you mess up.
“I’m not perfect at this. I get off track sometimes,” Angela confesses. “But I get back on track as soon as possible. Overall, it seems like I’m managing it pretty well.”
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.