[Did you know?]

The normal blood pressure level in adults is less than 120/80 mm Hg; optimal total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL.

Most of Kyle Rockholts work as a pharmacist has taken place in a community setting. He enjoys interacting with patients, answering questions and helping people understand their health care options. Prior to joining Sams Club, he spent time educating patients in a hospital setting about heart medications. His experiences provided a wake-up call for improving his own health. Now, he draws upon both his own experience and his pharmacy expertise to help members.

Q Why is it so important for members to be aware of their own heart health?

A Years of undetected high blood pressure can lead to structural changes in the heart and cause heart failure. High cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke, along with high blood pressure. Poor heart health also causes exercise tolerance to decrease, making it difficult to even walk short distances, and often results in a lifestyle filled with medications and doctors appointments. But a healthy heart can secure independence for older adults and make their golden years more enriching.

Q Why should members know their numbers when it comes to blood pressure and cholesterol?

A There are usually no symptoms of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both genetics and lifestyle play a role in determining who will develop these conditions. Even if a person feels healthy, its important to get regular checkups, since early detection and treatment can help prevent damage to organ systems. In addition, you can also monitor some of your levels between checkups. Blood pressure machines are located at most pharmacies; if your pharmacy does not have one, ask your pharmacist to check your blood pressure or purchase a home blood pressure test kit. Remember that it is still important to be seen annually by a health care provider, even if your numbers seem normal.

Q What can members do to support heart health?

A Weight reduction is the single most important thing patients can do to support heart health. A low-fat diet, along with eating fruits and vegetables, can considerably lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce weight. Reducing dietary sodium in take can lower blood pressure as well. Exercise is critically important. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, and if you smoke, stop. Take a good multi-vitamin that is rich in B vitamins; a good multi will boost metabolism and provide a healthy source of energy. Your pharmacist can also provide you with resources to improve your diet, help you quit smoking and advise you on dietary supplements.