FLORENCE, S.C. – Students in the Medical University of South Carolina/Francis Marion University nursing program recently announced the results of a blood pressure screening held during the spring semester.
Two hundred and eighteen FMU residential students took part in the two-day screening, which included a health risk appraisal. In addition to students in the R.N. to B.S.N. program, blood pressures were taken by biology and physiology students. Sociology students created the data file and performed initial data analysis.
The results showed that 24.8 percent of the participants have some degree of hypertension, including one out of every three males and one out of every six females. Twenty-eight percent, or about one in four, of the African-Americans tested had some degree of the disease, compared to 17 percent, or one in five, of the participants who were not African-American. The study used national guidelines as to what constitutes hypertension.
Twenty percent of those who showed some degree of hypertension had, prior to their screening, rated their health as good or very good.
Seventy-five percent of those screened were 20-years-old or younger. Twenty-six percent of the participants were long-time (at least 17 years) residents of the Pee Dee.
The screenings were a follow-up to a lecture given in January by stroke expert Dr. Daniel T. Lackland of MUSC. His research has identified the Pee Dee region as the stroke capital of the world. Lackland proposed an eight-year window to detect and treat hypertension before symptoms become problematic (at approximately 35 years old). With that eight-year window (approx. 27 years old), the target group is closer to the college population.
This screenings also satisfy requirements in the “Nursing and Families/Population/and Communities” course, where students must study a common medical problem and develop possible solutions. After studying the results of this screening, students recommended wider screenings and earlier treatment of young adults with high blood pressure.
According to nursing students Sherrie Baker and Jolene Osorio, both of Florence, printed materials dealing with hypertension were given to those who tested high. Those students were also rechecked, and in a few extreme cases, referred to FMU’s student health services for further evaluation.