Stay Informed

Take the Challenge!

Improve your heart health and check your blood pressure regularly

Did you know that about 28% of the population of Broome County has diagnosed hypertension? To address this fact, this spring UHS is partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) to bring the Check It! Challenge to the Southern Tier. Between February and May, we are challenging UHS employees and our local community to commit to checking their blood pressure at least twice a month, in addition to embracing healthier habits that can reduce the risk of heart disease.


Each month of the Check It! Challenge has a theme. In February, we’re talking about how to manage your blood pressure. Here are some tips on blood pressure management from Thomas Genese, MD, FACP, internal medicine specialist at UHS:

  • Eat healthier – “Often, simply following a better diet can lower blood pressure by several points,” says Dr. Genese. Try limiting simple carbohydrates like white sugar and eat more healthy fats, like those found in avocado or fish.
  • Reduce your salt intake – Cook more food at home to control the salt you use, or avoid highly processed foods which are more likely to have higher levels of salt.
  • Stop smoking and limit alcohol – Both are associated with high blood pressure.
  • Start an exercise plan – Similarly to eating healthier, even small, changes in your regular habits can have a positive effect on your blood pressure numbers.

“High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the ‘silent killer,’” says Thomas Genese, MD, FACP, internal medicine specialist at UHS. “Many people don’t know they have it because there are no obvious symptoms at first. That’s why we feel it’s important to support the work of the AHA and the Check It! Challenge, so people have a better understanding of their blood pressure numbers.”

Participants will be able to track their blood pressure through a web application that can be accessed from any internet browser. The AHA has found that just monitoring and entering blood pressure numbers, as well as having access to information about improving heart health, gives a significant number of participants the inspiration needed to take action. If just a fraction of our community comes together to participate, it will have a big impact on the health of the Southern Tier. To be a part of it, check out for updates on upcoming Check It! Challenge initiatives, or sign up at


Take part in the Check It! Challenge by visiting You can also access the Blood Pressure Tracker at