SHAPE Petitions Texas Legislature to Name September 1st as 'Texas Blood Pressure Day'

The resolution is being introduced along with a new bill for blood pressure screening at Texas DPS Offices while applying or renewing drivers license.

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Dr. Morteza Naghavi, SHAPE founder, discusses plans to help Texans become aware of the need for blood pressure testing.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) March 29, 2013

A Resolution to establish Texas Blood Pressure Day as an annual event each September 1st has been proposed to raise public awareness of the importance of knowing your blood pressure and risk of heart attack or stroke.

The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE), a Houston-based nonprofit that promotes early detection and prevention to reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, recommends learning and monitoring your blood pressure as a critical first step in achieving and maintaining heart health.

In Texas, nearly 50,000 people died last year due to cardiovascular disease, most of which could have been prevented. This represents one of every four deaths in the state. Additionally, about 28% of Texans have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can lead to the build-up of plaque in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which is the primary cause of the more than one million heart attacks and strokes that occur annually in the U.S.

“Both blood pressure and atherosclerosis are silent killers, blood pressure is silent until heart failure or a stroke occurs, and atherosclerosis is silent until a heart attack or sudden death. The status quo pays doctors to treat patients after the damage occurs but does not pay them to detect and prevent it, this is not smart,” said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, the founder of SHAPE and the Executive Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force that calls for an overhaul of existing cardiovascular healthcare policies.

This Resolution, authored by Rep. José Menendez of the 124th District in San Antonio, calls for the annual recognition of the importance of knowing you blood pressure, as high blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.”

In addition to this Resolution, SHAPE is working with Rep. Harold Dutton of the 142 District in Houston to introduce HB 2496 to allow the Texas Department of Public Safety to make blood pressure screening available to all those seeking to obtain or renew their drivers throughout the state.    

“This legislation is intended to raise public awareness of the importance of knowing your cardiovascular disease risk by offering the public a simple but effective heart attack risk-scoring test as part of the driver's license application and renewal process in addition to the vision test already being used,” said Richard Hellner, CEO of SHAPE. The bill would allow the DPS to make blood pressure testing machines available at its drivers license offices throughout the state.

“Cardiovascular disease has been the number one killer in Texas and the country for too long. Continuing to do what we have done in the past is not enough, and we must adopt new strategies,” said Morteza Naghavi, M.D. the founder of SHAPE and Executive Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force. "We look forward to observing September 1 each year as Texas Blood Pressure Day to increase public knowledge of each individual's personal risk of cardiovascular disease and what they can do to prevent a heart attack or stroke, including getting their blood pressure checked regularly."

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ABOUT SHAPE
The Society for Heart Attack Prevention & Eradication (SHAPE) is a nonprofit organization created to promote public education and to support research related to early detection, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis (arterial plaques), the most prevalent underlying cause of heart attacks. SHAPE is committed to raising public awareness on the shortfalls of the status quo, which grossly fails to detect the Vulnerable Patient. A Vulnerable Patient is defined as a healthy-looking individual who has significant atherosclerosis and is at a high risk of heart attack, but has no sign or symptom and therefore is unaware of his or her risk. These individuals are the ones who suddenly experience a heart attack and die with a sudden cardiac death within an hour. Most of them do not have an alarming level of cholesterol or blood pressure.

ABOUT SHAPE TASK FORCE
The SHAPE Task Force, an international group of leading cardiovascular physicians and researchers, has created the SHAPE Guidelines, which educates physicians how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaques) and implement proper therapies to prevent a future heart attack. According to the SHAPE Guidelines, individuals with high risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within the so called “normal range”. Knowing one's plaque score is important. In fact, it can be a matter of life and death! Additional information is available by calling 1-877-SHAPE11. And additional information is available at http://www.shapesociety.org.

The SHAPE Task Force includes the following:
Morteza Naghavi, M.D. – Executive Chairman
PK Shah, M.D. – Chair of Scientific Board
Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D. – Chief of Editorial Committee

SHAPE Task Force Members (alphabetic order):
Arthur Agatston, M.D., Daniel S. Berman, M.D., Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., Raimund Erbel, M.D., Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D., Sergio Fazio, MD, PhD, Steven B. Feinstein, M.D., Craig Hartley, Ph.D., Harvey S. Hecht, M.D., Howard Hodis, M.D., Ioannis Kakadiaris, Ph.D., Sanjay Kaul, M.D., M.P.H., Asher Kimchi. M.D., Wolfgang Koenig, M.D., Ph.D., Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D., Daniel Lane, M.D., Ph.D., Roxana Mehran, M.D., Ralph Metcalfe, Ph.D., Morteza Naghavi, M.D., Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D., Jagat Narula, M.D., Paolo Raggi, M.D., George P. Rodgers, M.D., James HF Rudd, Ph.D., Robert S. Schwartz, M.D., PK Shah, M.D., Leslee Shaw, M.D., David Spence, M.D., H. Robert Superko, M.D., Henrik Sillesen, M.D., Ph.D., Pierre-Jean Touboul, M.D.

Distinguished SHAPE Task Force Advisor: Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair of SHAPE Board of Directors: JoAnne Zawitoski
Executive Director of SHAPE Center of Excellence: Jeff Fine, Ph.D.
Chair of SHAPE Society Cardiology Club: Brenda Garrett Superko
SHAPE Task Force Executive Coordinator and SHAPE CEO: Richard Hellner