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  May is High Blood Pressure and Mental Health Awareness Month
  • What is Blood Pressure?
  • How is High Blood Pressure Treated?
  • Who Can I Talk to About Mental Health Issues?
  • Dr. Oz Video: High Blood Pressure Prevention
  • Source4Women: Juicing for Better Health
  • May Dare: Enter to win a char-broil 3 burner gas grill or a $400 gift card!
  • Monthly Health Tip
  • Monthly Recipe
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What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure measures the force of blood that travels through your arteries.  If it’s too high, it’s a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other complications.  High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because, most of the time, it has no symptoms.  Blood pressure readings vary during the day, depending on your activity level.  Blood pressure is often lower when you sleep and rises when you exercise.


Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).  Readings are recorded as a fraction, with systolic pressure over diastolic pressure.  For example:  120/80 mm Hg or “120 over 80.”


  • Systolic pressure is the first or top number—120 in the example above.  This is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
  • Diastolic pressure is the bottom number—80 in the example.  This is the pressure between heartbeats.


Hypertension (high blood pressure) has no symptoms, so your nurse or doctor will measure your blood pressure regularly during checkups.  Your doctor will let you know how often you need it checked.  High blood pressure is usually diagnosed after two or more high readings are recorded.  Only one number—systolic or diastolic—has to be high to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your chance for complications, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease.

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How is High Blood Pressure Treated?


High blood pressure is treated through lifestyle modifications and possibly medication.

Lifestyle changes include:


  • Reach or maintain a healthy weight.  If you are overweight, lose weight.  A weight loss of 10 pounds can often help lower blood pressure.
  • Follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.  Studies show that the DASH diet helps control high blood pressure.  The diet is rich in vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy.  Foods high in saturated and total fat and cholesterol are limited.  The DASH diet is also high in potassium.  Adding more potassium-rich foods to your diet can help reduce blood pressure.  Potassium can be found in many fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts and dairy products.  Limit sodium (salt) intake.  Eating a diet high in sodium may raise your blood pressure and lead to heart disease and stroke.  Experts now recommend limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg (two thirds of a teaspoon) per day.
  • Get active with your doctor’s approval.  Work up to 30 minutes of exercise in on most days of the week.
  • Limit alcohol.  If you choose to drink, limit yourself to two drinks a day for a man or one drink a day for a woman.
  • Quit smoking.  Smoking raises your risk for heart disease and other serious medical problems.
  • Stress.  Having high levels of stress may be linked with higher blood pressure.  Find healthy ways to deal with stress.  Try exercise, relaxation techniques, or a relaxing hobby.
  • Having higher than normal blood pressure (prehypertension).  Having blood pressure that’s higher than normal, but not high enough to be in the hypertensive range, puts you at risk for high blood pressure.


Changes to your lifestyle may not be enough to control your high blood pressure.  Often, people need one medicine or more to control high blood pressure.  Take your medication as your doctor prescribes.


Other factors also increase your risk, but they are beyond your control:


  • Heredity.  If your parents have or had high blood pressure, you have an increased chance of having it, too.
  • Race.  African-Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure than Caucasians.  The condition often comes on at a younger age and is more severe.
  • Age.  Your risk for getting high blood pressure goes up with age.
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Who Can I Talk to About Mental Health Issues?

If you are struggling with an emotional problem, a mental health professional can help. Psychotherapy offered by a trained and licensed therapist can often successfully treat relationship problems and many mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.  Many different types of professionals offer psychotherapy (talk therapy). Some of them can also prescribe medication if needed.


A psychiatrist is a medical or osteopathic doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses. Like other doctors, psychiatrists can prescribe medication. A psychiatrist should have a state medical license and be board-eligible or board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.


A psychologist has an advanced degree from an accredited graduate program in psychology and two or more years of supervised work experience. Most states require a doctoral degree and a state license for psychologists. Psychologists can make diagnoses, do psychological testing, and provide therapy.


Social workers have a master's degree in social work from an accredited graduate program. They are trained to make diagnoses and provide individual and group therapy. Their qualifications should include a state license and membership in the Academy of Certified Social Workers.


A licensed professional counselor has a master's degree in psychology, counseling or a related field. Licensed counselors are trained to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders. They are required to have a state license.


A marriage and family therapist (MFT) has at least a master's degree and two years of supervised clinical experience. They are trained to diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse problems from a family perspective. They can provide individual, couples, family and group therapy.


Certified mental health counselors have a master's degree and several years of supervised clinical work experience in mental health. They can diagnose and provide treatment for many emotional and mental health issues. They are certified by the National Academy of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors.


Certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors have specific clinical training in alcohol and drug abuse. They can diagnose substance abuse issues and provide individual and group counseling. They must carry a state license.


Psychiatric nurses are registered nurses (RNs) with a master's degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing. They may also be called advanced practice registered nurses, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychiatric clinical nurse specialists. They can diagnose and treat people with mental health disorders, and in most states they can prescribe medication. They are certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and must have a state license.


Pastoral counselors are clergy with a degree in mental health and extensive supervised clinical practice. As a result, they approach emotional issues from both a psychological and a spiritual perspective. They are required to have certification from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.


To choose a therapist, first talk with him or her on the phone or in person. Find out about licensing and level of training, approach to psychotherapy, fees and any specialty area. Some therapists focus on one area, such as treating depression, traumatic stress, substance abuse or grief.


If you feel the therapist is a good fit for you, the next step is to make an appointment. But if you are not satisfied after meeting in person, keep looking. The type of training or license a therapist has is not the most important factor. What matters most is how well you connect with the therapist. You should be able to talk openly and feel heard and understood. 

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Better Health with Dr. Oz: High Blood Pressure Prevention 

Check out the video library on the Better Health with Dr. Oz section of the uhc.com website! In these short videos, best-selling author and host of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Mehmet Oz, provides practical, easy-to-follow advice on a variety of health topics. To view the program click here: http://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/better-health-with-dr-oz

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Source4Women Online Seminar

Juicing for Better Health

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD
May 12, 2015, 12:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. CT, 10:30 a.m. MT, 9:30 a.m. PT


The juice revolution is upon us. Are you ready to give juicing a whirl? Learn how to drink your way to a healthier you with nutritious juices and smoothies for nourishing snacks, meal replacements and an easy way to help you eat more fruits and veggies. Recipes for the most nutritious beverages will be included. Join us to understand what you can expect juicing to do for you and what’s just hype — like juicing for detoxification and cleansing.

To register for an upcoming Source4Women seminar, visit www.source4women.com and click on "Online Seminars & Events." All seminars are recorded and archived for viewing after the live seminar date.

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we dare you

May Dare:
Get Outdoors

UnitedHealthcare's #WeDareYou for May are here!  

We Dare You to:

1. Share a photo of you outdoors
2. Take the fitness quiz
3. Match the calorie-burning activities –this is our NEW Concentration game!!


Check them out here: www.wedareyoutoshare.com. Enter for a chance to win great prizes like a Char-Broil 3-burner gas grill or a $400 gift card!

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we dare you

Health Tip

Feeling Blue? Exercise increases the level of serotonin (a chemical that affects mood) in the brain.  Low levels of serotonin are linked with clinical depression.  Some studies show that exercise can work just as well as medication in treating mild depression in some people.

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Healthy Recipe: Beef, Mushroom and Green Bean Stir-Fry


Total Time: 25 Minutes

Yield: 4 servings

6 oz. thin rice noodles
2 Tbsp. canola oil
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced, 3/4-in. thick
8 oz. green beans, halved crosswise
1 1/2-in. piece fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Black pepper
1 lb. sirloin steak, sliced 1/2-in. thick


  1. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes; drain and return to the bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, tossing, until the beans are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger and toss to combine. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the noodles (reserve the skillet) and toss to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey and 1 Tbsp. water. In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add the beef and toss to coat.
  4. Add the remaining Tbsp. oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook just until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Serve with the noodles and vegetables.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 444 
Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 70mg
Sodium: 616mg
Carbohydrates: 56g
Dietary Fiber: 3g
Protein: 27g

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